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.

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

Wayne Rooney Out For Europa League Match | Man U v Ajax

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

Europa League 2012 Update - Manchester United v Ajax

However Manchester United's boss, Sir Alex Ferguson says superstar striker Rooney will miss Thursday’s Europa League match against Ajax due to a sore throat and infection.

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Roo became ill following last week’s 2-0 defeat of Ajax in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 match in Amsterdam and was sent home.

Man United boss Alex Ferguson says Rooney “has a really bad throat. There were traces of it in Amsterdam and we gave him some medication but it got worse. He has been in bed over the weekend.”

United has an upcoming Premier League match against Norwich, and Ferguson says “we are trying hard to get him right for Sunday.”

The current Premier League champions are only two points behind Manchester City in the Premiership title race.

Sir Alex Ferguson says that a tie between United and rivals Man City would make “a great final” for the Europa League.

“Ourselves and City didn’t expect to be where we are today,” said Fergie.

“Both of us will be trying to win it and it would be a great final, that.”

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Sergio Auguero Scores Opening Goal v Porta

UEFA Europa League 2012 Round of 32 – Man City 4-0 Porto

Sergio Aguero is one of the superstars of Manchester City’s stellar season. Aguero came through again with a goal in City’s recent Europa League win over holders, Porto. City sealed an impressive 4-0 win over Porto to reach the last 16 of the Europa League.

He then provided Edin Dzeko who scored a goal which Porto’s Rolando was sent off for protesting against.

With the tie won, City finished off their opponents with goals from David Silva and substitute David Pizarro.

Manchester City boss, Roberto Mancini, believes that winning the Europa League silverware is on a level with winning the English Premier League title. City has joined the Europa League following their early de-seating from the Champion’s League - Europe’s top table.

Carlos Tevez will need to impress to reclaim his place in Mancini’s starting XI – after Tevez’s apology “to everyone I have let down” during his five-month feud with City boss, Roberto Mancini.

Manchester United says Wayne Rooney will miss Thursday's Europa League match against Ajax because of a throat infection.

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The UEFA Europa League Cup is the second most important international competition for European football clubs. The UEFA Cup 2011–2012 is the 41st edition of the UEFA Cup football tournament. FC Porto are the current holders of the UEFA Cup.

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Europa League - Ajax 0-2 Manchester United

Europa League - Ajax 0-2 Manchester United

Ajax had a strong start in the first half, but couldn't find a breakthrough.

Man United's defense and David De Gea did their part to keep it 0-0 heading into halftime.

Ashley Young found the breakthrough for the visitors in the 59th minute, following a corner kick.

'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez scored the clincher for United, netting his first goal in Europe this season and his ninth goal in all competitions.

Wayne Rooney, set up the play.

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