Europa League final: Peter Bosz's Ajax team facing Manchester United cost fifth of Paul Progba price tag
Ajax will contest a European club competition decider for the first time in 21 years with a team assembled for an estimated 22 million euros
Amsterdam: Ajax Amsterdam will field a side that cost just a fifth as much as Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba when the teams meet in the Europa League final on May 24.
The Dutch club will contest a European club competition decider for the first time in 21 years with a team assembled for an estimated €22 million ($24 million) - a sum dwarfed by the world record €105 million ($117 million) United paid for the French international midfielder.
The exploits of Coach Peter Bosz's young team, aged just under 23 on average, were hailed across the Netherlands on Thursday, the morning after they held out for a 5-4 aggregate victory in France over Olympique Lyonnais.
The ‘Bosz Babes’ led 4-1 from last week’s first leg but made heavy weather of the return game and had to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men after defender Nick Viergever saw red.
Bosz, who played at archrivals Feyenoord, has reshuffled the team since replacing Frank de Boer at the start of the season. He has introduced teenage talent and worked hard to perfect an approach dubbed ‘Totalfootball 2.0’, with players switching constantly between attack and defence.
"The resistance that he has had to overcome along the way was so well handled that in just nine months the Netherlands can again boast another top trainer," newspaper Algemeen Dagblad wrote on Thursday.
Ajax’s youthful defence did face some hairy moments on Wednesday as Lyon pressed to force the match into extra time.
"We played really well at home in the first leg and we repeated that for the first 40 minutes here (in Lyon). After that, Lyon were better," said captain Davy Klaassen on Dutch television after the match.
"But it doesn’t matter anymore, we’re playing in the final against Manchester United. Unbelievably brilliant.”
The match, in Stockholm, will be the first at that level for Ajax since they lost on penalties in Rome to Juventus in the 1996 Champions League decider.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Liverpool have surrendered top spot after three league games without a win and could drop to fifth place on Sunday if results go against them.
Premier League: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer laments Manchester United's 'missed opportunity' after Liverpool draw
Manchester United had to settle for a point after Alisson's brilliant stops kept out close-range efforts from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the second half.
United extended their unbeaten league run to 12 matches and their away record to 16 without defeat with a 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Sunday to remain top of the Premier League.