Kasper Dolberg’s exquisite goal proved vital as 10-man Ajax clung on seal their place in the Europa League final despite a 3-1 defeat to Lyon, who saw their dramatic attempt at comeback fall short.
Ajax, winners of the UEFA Cup in 1992, held a 4-1 lead from the first leg in Amsterdam, and Dolberg’s sixth Europa League goal of the campaign – a subtle dink over Anthony Lopes – furthered their advantage 27 minutes into a thrilling contest.
However, naive defending from Peter Bosz’s young side allowed Lyon back into the tie – Alexandre Lacazette netting twice in the space of 76 seconds on the stroke of half time.
Ajax substitute Donny van de Beek went agonisingly close to putting the tie to bed in the second half when he rattled the woodwork, before Rachid Ghezzal moved Lyon within a goal of forcing extra time, his header from Maciej Rybus’ looping cross deflecting in off Nick Viergever.
Matters were made worse for Viergever when he picked up a second yellow card moments later, but the undermanned visitors clung on for a 5-4 aggregate triumph amid sustained late pressure from Lyon to set up a final against Manchester United on May 24.