MANCHESTER UNITED WIN EUROPA LEAGUE SEMI FINAL

Marouane Fellaini scored Man United's lone goal in Thursday's Europa League 1-1 draw v Celta Vigo.

MANCHESTER UNITED WIN EUROPA LEAGUE SEMI FINAL

Manchester United 1-1 Celta Vigo (2-1 agg.)

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Manchester United's 1-1 Europa League semi-final second-leg draw with Spanish side Celta Vigo (2-1 agg) at Old Trafford on Thursday sees the titan English side advance to the Europa League Final.

On target for manager Jose Mourinho’s plan, Manchester United is one win away from qualifying for the Champions League. United, who progressed 2-1 on aggregate, were only seconds from being knocked out, but John Guidetti missed an easy chance for Celta Vigo in the final minute of stoppage time, both teams having been reduced to 10 men following red cards for Eric Bailly and Facundo Roncaglia after a late clash.

Bailly's dismissal, for lashing out at Guidetti, means he will miss the final against Ajax in Stockholm, leaving Manchester United without their best defender in a crucial game they must win in order to qualify for next season's Champions League tournament. Marcos Rojo will also miss the final due to a cruciate ligament injury. Bailly's absence will leave a huge hole in the Reds back four. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, who have both been subjected to stinging criticism from Red boss Jose Mourinho in recent weeks, will compete for the right to partner with Daley Blind.

United will face Ajax in the Europa League final after a narrow win in Spain on Thursday, followed by a hard fought 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. Ajax are weak at the back and have not gotten a win on the road in Europe for six games. The Europa League Final promises to be an exciting night in Stockholm for Manchester United and Ajax fans.

Marouane Fellaini came through as a hero with his crucial header sending his side through. Fellaini has prospered and improved under Mourinho’s wing, and the Belgian midfielder with big hair repaid his manager's faith in him with a crucial first-half goal against Celta Vigo that put United in control of this Europa League semifinal. Fellaini who was sent off for head-butting Manchester City's superstar striker Sergio Aguero last month is becoming a man for the big occasion; today’s goal against Celta was his third in semifinals for United. When Jose Mourinho selects Fellaini, the Reds lose the ability to control the midfield as the former Everton man is often picked ahead of Michael Carrick alongside Ander Herrera. When Mourinho goes with Carrick, United seem to control the passing and tempo of the game better.

Against Ajax in the Europa League final later this month, United will again face a team confident in possession, so Mourinho has a big choice to make – whether to go with Carrick's experience or is Fellaini's goal scoring potential. It is a big call and one that could decide whether United win in Stockholm or come back empty-handed.

The Europa League’s upcoming clash between giant clubs Manchester United and Ajax in the final in Stockholm will boost the competition's apeal. On May 24, Stockholm will see two clubs with 10 major European trophies between them battle it out for glory and silverware in the Friends Arena.

Ajax have already secured Champions League qualification for next season through by winning the Dutch Eredivisie league title this season, so they will travel to Sweden without the added pressure. Ajax are a titan club with a glittering tradition and will go head to head with Man United with the belief and winning mentality that comes from being one of Europe's most successful clubs.

If United win the final against Ajax, they will be back in the Champions League and will join Peter Bosz's Ajax, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Chelsea as the only clubs to win all of UEFA's major trophies: the European Cup, which was replaced by the Champions League; the Cup Winners' Cup, which is now defunct; the Super Cup; and the UEFA Cup, which was replaced by the Europa League.

EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL 2017

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Marouane Fellaini scored Man United's lone goal in Thursday's Europa League 1-1 draw v Celta Vigo.

Europa League football Round of32 and Round of16 Draws

Europa League Round of 32 and Round of 16 Draws

The top two teams from each of the groups, which concluded on Thursday, have earned their places, including two sides that managed maximum points, FC Salzburg and two-time UEFA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur FC, plus NK Maribor, the first Slovenian team to make it in European club competition.

Those 24 clubs are joined by the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League, including former European Cup winners SL Benfica, AFC Ajax, FC Porto and Juventus, whose home stadium stages the final in Turin on 14 May.

The draws for the round of 32 and round of 16 take place in Nyon.

There will be two pots for the round of 32 draw: the 12 group winners and the four best third-ranked teams in the UEFA Champions League group stage are seeded. They will be drawn against the 12 group runners-up and the remaining third-placed UEFA Champions League sides. No team can play a club from their group or a side from the same association. Games will be played on 20 and 27 February.

The round of 16 draw, made immediately afterwards, will be completely open with 16 balls containing 'winners of match 1' to 'winners of match 16'. Ties are played 13 and 20 March.

Seeded Clubs

Valencia CF (ESP, Group A)
PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL, B)
FC Salzburg (AUT, C)
FC Rubin Kazan (RUS, D)
ACF Fiorentina (ITA, E)
Eintracht Frankfurt (GER, F)
KRC Genk (BEL, G)
Sevilla FC (ESP, H)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA, I)
Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR, J)
Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG, K)
AZ Alkmaar (NED, L)
SSC Napoli (ITA)*
SL Benfica (POR)*
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)*
FC Basel 1893 (SUI)*

Unseeded Clubs

Swansea City AFC (ENG, Group A)
FC Chornomorets Odesa (UKR, B)
Esbjerg fB (DEN, C)
NK Maribor (SVN, D)
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR, E)
Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR, F)
FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR, G)
FC Slovan Liberec (CZE, H)
Real Betis Balompié (ESP, I)
SS Lazio (ITA, J)
FC Anji Makhachkala (RUS, K)
PAOK FC (GRE, L)
AFC Ajax (NED)*
Juventus (ITA)*
FC Porto (POR)*
FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)

*Transferred from the UEFA Champions League

Europa League Schedule

Quarter-finals: Draw 21 March, matches 3 & 10 April
Semi-finals: Draw 11 April, matches 24 April & 1 May
Final: Wednesday 14 May, Juventus Arena

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Buy Chelsea Europa League Final Tickets!

Europa League Logo 4

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Rafa Benitez guided third-placed Chelsea to 10 points out of a possible 12 in the Barclays Premier League fight to the finish for top four placement on the Premiership table, with wins against Swansea City, Fulham and Sunderland, while achieving a draw away to Liverpool.

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April Barclays Player & Manager of the Month Awards

Robin van Persie Award

Robin van Persie, Manchester United

April Barclays Player & Manager of the Month Awards

Robin Van Persie won the monthly award for the second time this season after previously earning the award in December. Van Persie scored six goals in five matches for Manchester United as they clinched the Barclays Premier League title, the highlight being a stunning hat-trick in the 3-0 victory against Aston Villa.

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Led by Benitez, FC Chelsea defeated Swiss side Basel and went through to the UEFA Europa League Final. During last month, Benitez guided third-placed Chelsea to 10 points out of a possible 12 in the Barclays Premier League fight to the finish for top four placement on the Premiership table, with wins against Swansea City, Fulham and Sunderland, while achieving a draw away to Liverpool.

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Previous Winners This Season

March
Manager: David Moyes (Everton)
Player: Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

February 
Manager: Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur)
Players: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

January 
Manager: Brian McDermott (Reading)
Player: Adam Le Fondre (Reading)

December
Manager: Martin O'Neill (Sunderland)
Player: Demba Ba (Newcastle United)

November 
Manager: Steve Clarke (West Bromwich Albion)
Player: Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

October
Manager:
 Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Player: Juan Mata (Chelsea)

September 
Manager: David Moyes (Everton)
Player: Steven Fletcher (Sunderland)

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Europa League Semi-finals : Basel 1-2 FC Chelsea

David Luis v Basel 2

David Luiz, FC Chelsea

Europa League Semi-finals : Basel 1-2 FC Chelsea

David Luiz scored Chelsea's second goal from a free kick during their UEFA Europa League Semi Final First Leg match victory against FC Basel 1893 at St. Jakob Stadium on April 25, 2013 in Basel, Switzerland.

After an opening goal from Victor Moses, Basel came back with a penalty kick past Petr Cesc for the equalizer.

David Luiz gave Chelsea a valuable second away goal going into the second leg.

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In the closing minutes of the match, Luiz was given the opportunity for a free-kick at 25 yards out - right in Luiz's comfort zone. Luiz sidefooted his shot through a slot in the wall. The surprised keeper made a soft attempt to push it away - but missed and the ball went into the net - 1-2 final score.

Chelsea are favored to win the Europa League silverware this campaign. And Blues' manager Rafa Benitez has hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four to ensure qualification to the Champions League next season.

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'I want to go to the final, but it is not finished. This title is very important for us, and for me I want another title,' said David Luiz.

Juan Mata said after the win, 'For the club it's very important to play in the Champions League next season, but now we have the chance to win another trophy so we will try our best until the end.'

Squads

Basel: Sommer, P Degen, Schar, Dragovic, Park, Fabian Frei, Salah, El-Nenny, Die, Stocker, Streller. Subs: Vailati, D Degen, Diaz, Cabral, Sauro, Steinhofer, Zoua. 
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, David Luiz, Hazard, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Mata, Oscar, Mikel, Cahill, Benayoun, Bertrand. 

The traveling Champions of Europe have recently been to Monaco, Denmark, Ukraine, Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania and Russia, and Switzerland.

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2nd Leg 02 May - Chelsea v FC Basel tickets, Stamford Bridge, London, UK
Final 15 May - Europa League Final Tickets, Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands