United Forum
Go Back   United Forum > Manchester United > Football Auto-Threads
Unread 16-02-2012, 08:20 PM
fred tissue
Default Ajax 0-2 Manchester United

[IMG]http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.22.4/39004?ns=guardian&pageName=Ajax+v+Manchester+Unite d+*+live%21+%7C+Tom+Bryant%3AArticle%3A1704759&ch= Football&c3=GU.co.uk&c4=Europa+League+2011-12%2CEuropa+League%2CAjax+%28Football+club%29%2CMa nchester+United+%28Football%29%2CFootball%2CSport& c5=Europa+League%2CPremier+League&c6=Tom+Bryant&c7 =12-Feb-16&c8=1704759&c9=Article&c10=Match+report%2CMinute +by+minute&c11=Football&c13=&c25=&c30=content&c51= MVT+group+&h2=GU%2FFootball%2FEuropa+League+2011-12[/IMG]
Javier Hernandez and Ashley Young scored the goals as Manchester United won in Amsterdam

Preamble: Ajax v Manchester United. There's a fixture to stir the heart. Four European Cups plays three. Thirty league titles plays 19. Two teams whose past players read like a roll call of the greatest players of all time: Cruyff, Van Basten, Bergkamp, Overmars, Seedorf, Kluivert, Rijkaard, Laudrup, Davids, Ibrahimovic, Arnesen ... Then Best, Charlton, Hughes, Keane, Robson, Cantona et al.

And here we all are seeing this history, one of the game's epic clashes, in the Europa League. On Channel 5. Sheesh.

It's a competition recently described by the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as "a punishment" and is the first time the two clubs have met competively outside the Champions League in 17 years. It doesn't feel quite as much like The Big One as it once did, does it?

Ajax are a club in the midst of a civil war too. Boardroom wrangling, with Johan Cruyff at its heart, has ripped apart relationships at the top of the club. On the pitch, the club's pedigree is unrecognisable too. They're sixth in the Eredivisie, eight points below leaders PSV Eindhoven. They've won just one league title in seven years (last year, in fact) and have won only one of their four league games this year.

Manchester United, meanwhile, appear to be trying to convince themselves this is something they care about. The noise from their camp has been all about how they're trying to win the tournament - but it apears they're words delivered through the gritted teeth. "We need to get used to the fact we are not in the Champions League this season," said Javier Hernadez before the match. Fergie added: "winning any European trophy is significant. Irrespective of those who have won the three trophies before it is important for us, with our own history, to win tournaments all the time."

Both teams are a footballing sides, though, so with luck everyone can ignore the shabbier backdrop the Europa League provides and this can entertain. My prediction is Ajax 1-3 Manchester United.

Team news: Ajax: Vermeer, Anita, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Koppers, De Jong, Aissati, Eriksen, Ozbiliz, Bulykin, Sulejmani.

Subs: Cillessen, Boilesen, Blind, Lodeiro, Serero, Van Rhijn, Lukoki

Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Fabio, Nani, Carrick, Cleverley, Young, Rooney, Hernandez.

Subs: Amos, Smalling, Park, Welbeck, Scholes, Valencia, Pogba

5.36pm: The United lineup is an attacking one, and they'll be up against the classic Ajax 4-3-3. Could be a chance for Young and Nani to make hay up their respective wings - or, alternatively, could be a chance for the Dutch side's attackers to make mincemeat of a creaky defence seeking to attack. Meanwhile, Peter Yates has emailed to point out: "How about: Edwards, Best, Charlton, Hughes, Keane, Robson, Cantona et al. I'm sure Bobby Charlton would agree that Duncan Edwards should be the first name on that list. "

5.40pm: "It's great to see Cleverley playing again for United," says Richard Berry. "I don't think he is as world class as people made him out to be while he was injured and he probably got over hyped, but his ability to just pass quickly and keep the ball moving meant we could play such a high tempo at the beginning of the season. Intrigued to see how we will get on tonight." They just seem to play better when he's on the pitch - it's his European debut tonight after returning from the ankle injury he suffered against Everton.

5.51pm: Ajax are expecting a 50,000 capacity full house. However, they may be a few short of that after 76 Ajax fans were arrested last night having been found with brass knuckles, clubs, teargas and "a large amount of narcotics". Yikes.

5.53pm: Sir Alex Ferguson is in the tunnel. Roughly, here's what he has to say. "If you're in a tournement, you want to win it. The CHampions League has gone. [Ajax] will be good as always. They've always prouced young, clever footballers. That's been their philosophy for many years and we'll get that tonight. Hopefully we can get the result."

5.58pm: There's quite the atmosphere at the Amsterdam ArenA. Teh fans are waving banners like their lives depend on it, while the PA is pumping out the tunes like its 3am at the Hacienda.

Peep, peep: It's cold, it's noisy and we're off. Hernandez has completed his pre-match chat with The Man Upstairs, has knocked the ball to Rooney and United have passed it around the back.

2 min: In fact, United spend a good length of time passing it around the back. Eventually De Gea hoofs it long and Ajax get on the ball. They make a tentative attack, Eriksen swinging the ball into the box but to nobody.

3 min: Vertonghen goes on a charge up the middle then oddloads. Ajax build slowly before Vertonghen again takes control of the ball. He fires a long ball forward for Bulykin but it goes too far and into touch.

4 min: "Regarding your header picture," emails Adrian Gentry. "Did Lord Ferg lose a bet on the 6 nations and have to wear the Welsh RFU hat this evening?"

5 min: Eriksen lingers on the ball 10 yards outside the United box. He offloads then picks up the ball again, passing out to Ozbiliz on the wing. He crosses to Bulykin in the box, but his touch lets him down. Ajax have started decently.

6 min: Nani collects from Carrick and goes on a mazy little run into the Ajax box. His shot is easily knocked behind for a corner, though. The winger then proceeds to thump his corner kick straight out of play behind the goal.

7 min: Ajax attempt to play De Jong in after some near triangles up their right. Ferdinand intercepts and clears though.

9 min: It's a little ponderous so far. Each team is allowing the other plenty of room, and so the passing has been slow and languid, without being penetrating. Finally Evans makes a dart for the Dutch side's box. He passes out wide to Young on the left, who tries a couple of stepovers then earns a corner.

10 min: Carrick heads the ball goalwards, but Ajax - after a little while - can get the ball safely up the pitch. Not a single one of them chases the clearance though. Instead, they sit back deep and wait for United. Hernandez calls for the ball but is marginally offside when it comes.

13 min: Eriksen takes up a position on the edge of the United D, then passes out wide to Sulejmani on the left wing. His cross is perfect - a nice height, across the face of the goal and there for the attacking - except for one thing: it doesn't go anywhere near an Ajax player.

14 min: After United attempt an attack, Ajax come back at them. Well, sort of. Ozbiliz comes forward up the right and pings in a cross from several miles out. It goes straight to De Gea. Then, again, he goes up the right and crosses more succesfully. Evans has to clear into touch.

14 min: From the throw-in, Eriksen gets the beating of Carrick and so the United midfielder and Ferdinand combine to bundle the ball out for a corner. Nothing comes of it though.

15 min: Rooney blazes up the United right and, with three players in the penalty area, his cross gets deflected behind everyone. Meanwhile Ashley Young appears to be in some discomfort. Not sure why yet.

16 min: "Re. 5 mins: 'Ajax have started decently'?" emails Pramod Hegde before using up his full nightly quota of punctuation marks: "Imagine if they had started indecently?!?!"

18 min: A loose pass from Jones to Nani is intercepted by Koppers. The left back goes charging into the area but his shot is tame. De Gea saves easily. Still, a mistake there from the United right back.

19 min: Young seems to have shrugged off whatever was bothering him. He scoops a flicked pass over the Ajax defence for Hernandez to run onto. The Mexican is offside though. A moment later, Rooney comes trundling up to the box. Caught in two minds between blasting a long range shot and placing one, he doesn't really do either. Vermeer hops into the air and clutches the ball to his chest.

20 min: "Not sure I get all this Europa League dissing," emails Paul Taylor. "From this seat the Champions League looks like a place where good English teams go to get the stuffing knocked out of them and come home disgraced if not shambleized (as Radar would put it). Are we having just a spot of trouble adjusting to the fact that we are no longer king of the road?" Well, it was Ferguson who called it a "punishment" and, really, a club like Manchester United ought not to be competing in the Europa League.

21 min: Nani tricks his way into a crossing position on the right. With Hernandez waiting expectantly, the swings the ball into the area but Vertonghen leaps highest and clears.

22 min: Hernandez goes charging through to meet a defence-splitting pass. The keeper Vermeer comes flying odd his goal line too, though, and just beats the striker to it.

23 min: The hat mystery: resolved. "Evening Tom!" cheers a cheery Ryan Dunne. "The Wales hat was famously a gift from Ryan Giggs, which Ferguson has continued to wear for reasons of luck (which, given Man U's haul of trophies in his tenure, does make a certain sense). I wonder if any of Man U's England players have tried to get him to wear some 3 lion themed clothing?"

26 min: Ajax pass their way forwards from the back. They make it about two-thirds of the way up the pitch before they face the massed ranks of the United defence. United don't seem too unhappy to let them keep passing, especially as they're mostly going sideways. Eventually, after a throw-in, Manchester United win the ball and head forwards themselves. It's then Ajax's turn to stop them. Ho hum.

28 min: Plenty of passing again which finally leads to a breakthrough of sorts. Sulejmani swings over a booming cross after the centre-back Vertonghen again came streaming forwards with the ball. Bulykin went up for a good chance but couldn't quite connect properly as Evans cleared. As the ball trickles back, De Jong is there to have a crack but it bounces back off his own man. Up the other end, Rooney then has a crack of his own.

29 min: Nani creeps in on the right of the Ajax box. With Rooney and Hernandez screaming for the ball he instead shoots from an impossible angle. The ball balloons up, over the goal and into the crowd. Fergie shakes his head ruefully on the touchline.

31 min: "Re: Europa League bashing," writes Stefan Lutter. "Perhaps if United think themselves too good to grace the Europa League, they should have given it a bit more thought before getting spanked twice by FC Basel. If anything, Ajax should be the ones still in the competition, as their group included Madrid and Lyon and it took an absurd chain of events to eliminate them."

31 min: Hernandez, onside this time, races forwards to get hold of a through ball. Vermeer is awake, though, and claims again.

33 min: De Jong has a wicked crack at goal. From 35 yards out, he sends an absolute missile at the top corner. De Gea does what he does best though: he makes a spectacular save. From the resulting corner, the keeper does what he does worst. He flaps a bit, but eventually gets the ball out.

34 min: Another high ball comes over from United and De Gea remains rooted to his line. Vertonghen, who appears to be everywhere, heads goalwards. There follows a succession of Ajax crosses - two in fact - and the last of them is finally headed over. Good pressure from the home side.

37 min: Ajax are being more adventurous now, and are finding some success in probing the United flanks. United aren't letting them have it all their own way. They attack too. Eventually, the ball breaks to Cleverley who has a a booming and wild shot high over the Ajax cross bar. "There's a certain irony in a man called Cleverley playing against Ajax isn't there?" writes Gary Naylor. "Best vs Cruyff? I think Cruyff was the more beautiful - which is not something one says often when George Best is the comparator."

38 min: Eriksen aims up a sighter from distance. From the centre of the park, he swings one at De Gea from a way out. It's a simple enough stop, though. There are, apparently, a clutch of British scouts here to watch the young midfielder tonight. He favours a move to Barcelona apparently. For a change.

40 min: Evans threads a ball through to Hernandez, who probably wasn't expecting it. The striker twists and turns and wins a throw-in near the corner flag. But from a decent position, United end up back in their own half playing the ball ponderously sideways.

42 min: Jones crosses for Hernandez and Rooney to head goalwards but Vertonghen clears. A moment later, Fabio crosses from the left flank for Nani. He goes down in a heap making all sorts of accusations about why he's gone down in a heap. The referee looks at him with faint disgust.

43 min: Graham Taylor, on the telly, has just pointed out that there is not much movement in the United team. Always hard to tell these sorts of things from the telly as you can't see the whole pitch. So let's take his word for it: there's not enough movement in the United side.

45 min: De Jong crosses to high for Bulykin and the big lad for Ajax makes only a half-hearted effort to climb for it. United get hold of the ball and probe up the right. However Sulejmani rides his luck, nicks the ball, and attacks. He passes to Ozbiliz on the left and he crosses back to the striker. Ferdinand is there, on the very edge of the box, and he lunges in ... there's a big penalty shout but the ref says no. And with that, it's half time.

An email to keep you going during the long, lonely minutes that make up half time: "I read earlier that Ferguson was potentially touting Giggs as his successor when he eventually retires," writes David Wall. "That might be a nice option at some point in the future, but what I don't understand is the opposition to Mourinho taking over their club from fans of both United and Arsenal. Some line about playing negative, purely pragmatic football is usually trotted out but that just seems ignorant to me. Have people seen Real Madrid this season? Not only are they running away from the supposedly invincible Barcelona in the league but they're doing so playing extremely versatile and attacking football. Mourinho is nothing if not pragmatic, but that includes adapting to the style required by a club. If he can keep the Madridistas from waving their hankies at him I'm sure he could satisfy the principles at United or Arsenal." Once you've got through that, I should successfully have got down to the canteen and back.

Half time: There's a Dutch cover band at the Amsterdam ArenA. They're playing a Kings Of Leon cover. "Ajax is on fiyaaarrrrrrr!!!!" It's quite bad.

Clickety, clack: The teams are trotting back out. No changes for United, despite Nani being an almost total waste of everyone's time tonight.

46 min: Cleverly passes right to Hernandex, he keeps the ball moving out to Nani. He's on the edge of the box and, with everyone expecting a cross, he pings a shot at the Ajax goal. Vermeer tickles it over.

47 min: From the corner, Ashley Young completely does the Ajax defender. He crosses back to Jones but the right-back has a fresh air swipe.

49 min: United have come out as if someone has put a ricket up their behinds at half time. Wonder who that could have been. Jones comes charging up the right again before Ajax can clear. They work the ball long to Bulykin who fires a shot so wide that he perhaps needs to go and have a little sit down and think about what his life has become.

50 min: "Couldn't help noticing that in the picture at the top of the page, Hernandez looks more horizontal than vertical as the caption suggests," emails Dan Ashworth. "Presumably he was vertical before he clashed with the keeper. Seems like a pretty dull game - time for Scholsey to earn his keep in the second half." Well done Dan, you win a prize. That's changed now.

51 min: Jones is venturing forwards a lot more this half. He passes to Rooney in the middle, he slips the ball through to Hernandez. One on one with the keeper, he goes down in a heap. It was *just* a good save by the keeper, though Hernandez was looking for a penalty. The ref goesn't give it.

52 min: Shortly after that, Fabio earns himself a yellow for a slightly wild challenge. Next Nani crosses from the right and Rooney leaps high. The Dutch defender gets the last touch and Vermeer has to touch the ball around the post. United are playing with much more gusto now.

54 min: De Jong gets a yellow now after a poor pass from Vermeer means he has to bring Young down to claim the ball. United take the free-kcik short in an attempt to work the ball forwards up the left. It doesn't work: Ajax press them back into their own hald where they start again.

55 min: After heading up the left again, Aissati concedes a foul and United again have a free-kick, this time on the left. Young crosses for Rooney and the ball gets nodded back to Cleverley. He attempts to chip the ball over the Ajax defence for Hernandez, who wins a corner. Ajax manage to clear that, though.

56 min: "The Kings of Leon cover is 'quite bad'?" asks Ben Stanley. "So, an improvement on the original, then?"

57 min: Nani gets one over on Koppers and earns United another corner. Ajax have been pegged back this half. Carrick tries to flick the corner goalwards but there's no-one there to meet his efforts.

GOAL! Ajax 0-1 Manchester United (Young, 58min): Young finds Fabio on the overlap. He passes the ball back from the goal-line, inside the penalty area. It's another corner for United. They can't do anything with this one, but then Nani crosses again. The ball bobbles across the area and finds Young, unmarked, and he pings it in from 10 yards.

60 min: United's pressure and pace in the second half pays off. Meanwhile, Scholes comes on for Cleverly and Van Rhijn has come on for Bulykin.

61 min: Ozbiliz finds himself with the ball on the edge of the area after a Fabio error. He blazes the ball a metre or so over the bar.

62 min: This is lovely from Jon Wilde: "Say what you like about Ajax. They had the best Subbuteo kit of the lot of 'em. Probably still do, for that matter. My brother was so in awe of Cruyff, he painted the face of his No9 Ajax player gold to make him stand out."

64 min: Koppers, who has been having a tough time at left back, has been yanked off the pitch. Boilesen, who is the first choice but has been injured, replaces him. He's just in time to see Nani claim the ball unmarked in the penalty area and then hoof high. He insists the keeper got a touch. The referee insists he didn't.

66 min: Evans chips the ball forward into the box. Well chip suggests there was finesse. It was more like the sort of up 'n' under a second row forward puts up. Nani gives him the thumbs up anyway as the ball skids into touch.

67 min: Ajax find themsevles in the rare position of having the ball on the edge of the United area. They pass it about, looking for a chink, until a United foor comes in to knock it back to De Gea. A moment later, they're back. This time Eriksen does see a chance - but his shot bobbles into De Gea's arms.

70 min: A long range Vertonghen shot goes scruffily wide, before Sulejmani gets onto a run. Phil Jones clatters him over, having given the ball away in the first place. Eriksen chips the ball into the box and United head it back out. From the clearance, Rooney tries to find Nani - but the forward is muscled off the ball.

71 min: Rooney plays Young through - and Young goes sprawling all over the ground when about to burst into the box. The referee waves play on. One of those odd ones where it was either a dive or a foul, but the ref has given neither.

72 min: Ah, there's the replay. The merest of Dutch hands waved near Young and he went down. So a dive, then.

73 min: Young goes down again after a challenge from Vertonghen. The Ajax defender came in from behind and there was contact this time, but that doesn't stop him having a right old shout at the United man. "I was fond of the Ajax subbuteo team too," emails Justin Kavannagh. "Except no matter how hard I drilled them, I could never get them to replicate the constant movement of Total Football."

73 min: Good lord, the Ajax crowd are loud. They've burst to life because Eriksen has taken charge of the ball and gone racing up the middle of the pitch. His shot from the edge of the area is good and firm, but is nonetheless easily saved by De Gea.

76 min: Hernandez crosses from the byline to the centre-spot. But Rooney hadn't made a run to get to it. Meanwhile Young follows Cleverley in heading off the pitch - both players coming back from injury - and Valencia trots on. That will probably make United stronger, even though it was Young who scored.

77 min: Valencia immediately plays a slide-rule ball to Hernandez who shrugs off the complaints of handball from the Ajax players and wins a corner. However Ajax clear and counter immediately: and it's that man Veronghen (a central defender) who's leading it. He's either all about the total football, or he's the new David Luiz.

78 min: United play it around the back, for De Gea to eventually hoof long. "I've always loved Johan Cruyff," emails a wistful Ian Burch. "I saw him and Beckenbauer turn out for New York Cosmos against Chelsea back in 1978. Cruyff did his turn and a number of other tricks and they put an extra 20,000 people on the gate that night. Of course a lot of the fans may well have turned up just to catch a glimpse of Dennis Tueart playing up front for them."

79 min: Ozbiliz comes off for Ajax, the Dutch Under-19 international (it says here) Lukoki comes on. On the pitch, Sulejmani plays a through ball to De Gea. Not intentionally, obviously.

81 min: Van Rhijn hacks across a violent cross but Ferdinand is there to clear. Ajax just beginning to get a groove on at the moment.

82 min: The home side play a through ball for Van Rhijn to run onto. De Gea rushes out and clears. Ajax win the ball back and attack up the right again. Lukoki has a bit of a set-to with Fabio, claims he was fouled, gets nothing and United clear.

83 min: Ajax are camped outside the United penalty box again. United appear to have eased off a bit - but not so much that there's an obvious route forward for the home side. Still, United need to be careful.

83 min: Sulejmani eventually has a crack. He's just outside the area and on an angle, while his shot is not too powerful. De Gea saves comfortably.

GOAL! Ajax 0-2 Manchester United (Hernandez, 84 min): Valencia feeds Hernandez, who finds Rooney. The striker's in acres of space. He lifts his head and passes back to Hernandez who bobbles a shot under the keeper.

86 min: Valencia injured himself somehow during all of that. He walks straight off the pitch and straight down the touchline. Welbeck replaces him. Frank De Boer, in the dug-out, looks gloomy.

88 min: Rooney, again, has the whole of the left side of the pitch to himself. He trots towards the box, then curls a shot at the top corner. It's wide though.

88 min: "David Wall [half time] has a point about the quality of Mourinho's football," writes Alex Hanton. "But let's not disregard the possibility that people don't want Mourinho at their club because he's a bit of a tit. Yes Ferguson can be a bit unpleasant as well but he's been around for so long that we've all started to be comforted by his presence. Its the same reason why people support the monarchy or Jarvis Cocker."

89 min: Aissati strides forward and tickles a long(ish) range teaser towards De Gea's left-hand post. The keeper gets down to turn the ball out for a corner, which comes to nothing.

90 min: Sulejmani takes advantage of a United slip, and heads towards goal. He attempts a chip, trying to loft the ball over De Gea. There's plenty of up on his shot, but not enough down. Three mins of extra time.

90 min + 1: "Maybe Justin Kavannagh (73 min)
," emails Paul Tucker. "It might make for a quicker game, but who's to say that's a bad thing?"

Peep, peep: The game draws to a quiet close. A good result for United, that probably eases them into the next round, only another 3,000,000,000 games from the final.

Thanks for your emails: Right, no time for a considered round-up of the action because I'm leaping straight over to here to bring you commentary from Porto v Manchester City. Join me if you like.

Tom Bryant

guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Thread Tools
Similar Threads for: Ajax 0-2 Manchester United
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ajax v Manchester United in pictures fred tissue Football Auto-Threads 0 16-02-2012 06:20 PM
Ajax v Manchester United, Porto v Manchester City, Stoke v Valencia live fred tissue Football Auto-Threads 0 16-02-2012 06:20 PM
Patrice Evra to sit out Ajax v Manchester United fred tissue Football Auto-Threads 0 15-02-2012 06:40 PM
PAID: Ajax v Manchester United Sloppy Settled 0 13-02-2012 12:28 PM
Europa League draw: Manchester United face Ajax, Manchester City meet Porto, Stoke play Valencia fred tissue Football Auto-Threads 0 16-12-2011 12:40 PM
All times are GMT. The time now is 09:46 PM.

Copyright 2006 - 2018 utdforum.com. This site is in no way affiliated to Manchester United Football Club.