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Full-time: Manchester United 1 (3) Ajax 2 (2)
19.15 – Welcome along to another Thursday night where we will be focusing on the Red Devils, who are looking to progress to the last 16 of the competition by seeing off Ajax.
United are overwhelming favourites to go through after a 2-0 win in Amsterdam and would face one of Lokomotiv Moscow or Athletic Bilbao in the next round. The Russian side lead that game 2-1 on aggregate and 0-0 on the night with just under an hour gone at San Meme Stadium and we will keep you up-to-date on how that finishes.
19.22 – Elsewhere, Stoke trail Valencia 1-0 (2-0 on agg) with 64 minutes gone after a goal from Brazilian striker Jonas.
The team sheets have been handed in at Old Trafford so this is how they will line up:
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Jones (c), Smalling, Fabio, Park Ji-Sung, Nani, Young, Cleverley, Berbatov, Hernandez. Subs: Amos, Evra, Evans, Giggs, Carrick, Scholes, Welbeck.
Ajax: Vermeer, Alderweireld, Vertonghen (c), Anita, Van Rhijn, Koppers, Eriksen, S De Jong, Lodeiro, Sulejmani, Ozbiliz. Subs: Cillessen, Ooijer, Blind, Serero, Aissati, Ebecilio, Klaassen.
19.28 – So the two goalscorers from last week, Ashley Young and Javier Hernandez, both start for the home side and Wayne Rooney drops out of the side for Dimitar Berbatov, who hasn’t played in three weeks. Park Ji-Sung comes in for Micheal Carrick, while Rio Ferdinand and Johnny Evans are replaced by Rafael Da Silva and Chris Smalling.
19.52 – This is the fourth consecutive season that Ajax have made the last 32, but they have not managed to make it as far as the quarter-finals of a UEFA competition in nine years. Manager Frank de Boer has not thrown the towel in just yet however:
“Obviously we are trying to get the result and we are not here just to see the sights,” the Dutchman said.
Basel got a result against Manchester United in the Champions League and we can do the same. We will see after the game what the result will be.
“The team is going to try to make it difficult for Manchester United and overall it is a great opportunity for our players to play this game.”
19.55 – It’s finished 1-0 (2-0 on agg) to Valencia in Spain, so Tony Pulis’ side have been eliminated. A 62nd minute goal from talented teenager Iker Muniain has sent Bilbao through on away goals, meanwhile, so Marcelo Bielsa’s Basque outfit will face the team who come through this tie.
20.06 – Park is United captain tonight and not Phil Jones. Chicharito and Berbatov have tipped off. Here we go then…
20.21 – It’s like a managers’ convention at Old Trafford tonight. The camera spots England caretaker boss Stuart Pearce, his possible successor and Manchester City gaffer Roberto Mancini all sitting in close proximity.
Hernandez runs into a huge gap in the Ajax backline and is found by the pass of Rafael. He squares to Berbatov but a last ditch interception puts the ball behind for a corner. A free-kick is then given for pushing in the box.
20.30 – Siem de Jong cuts in off the left flank and fires well wide from 20 yards. Credit to Ajax, they are playing some attractive football and fancy their chances of scoring. Armenian attacker Aras Ozbiliz shows great footwork to turn in the box and shoots from a fairly narrow angle. De Gea collects without too much exertion.
20.34 – Rafael does get the first booking of the night for a late challenge on Nicolas Lodeiro. 28 minutes gone.
20.38 – United weren’t far off there. Nani’s reverse pass puts Berbatov in but his cut back is marginally behind the run of Hernandez, who would’ve almost certainly scored.
The visitors have the ball in the back of the net, but it’s been rightly ruled offside.
20.42 – The scream of Dico Koppers rings around the stadium after he is caught late by Cleverley. The free is given and an excellent ball is whipped across the face of the goal without an Ajax player getting the necessary connection.
21.02 – Other half-time scores you may or may not be interested in…
Anderlecht 1 (2) AZ Almaar 0 (0)
Atletico Madrid 0 (3) Lazio 0 (1)
Besiktas 0 (2) Braga 1 (1)
Metalist Kharkiv 1 (5) Red Bull Salzburg 0 (0)
Olympiakos 1 (2) Rubin Kazan o (0)
Schalke 1 (2) Viktoria Plzen o (1)
Sporting Lisbon 0 (2) Legia Warsaw 0 (2)
21.17 – Ajax, who are being backed by a fairly noisy travelling crowd aren’t quite out of this yet. The first ten minutes of the second half have been pretty open but neither side have created a shot on goal yet.
21.34 – The changes have seen Jones pushed into midfield to partner Scholes with Evans taking his place at the back and Park going to the left side of midfield. Their final substitution of the night, Danny Welbeck, takes to the field in place of Berbatov. The former Bulgarian international is gets huge applause upon departing.
22.15 – Here is how the last 16 looks:
Metalist v Olympiakos
Sporting Lisbon v Manchester City
FC Twente v Schalke/Plzen (2-2 on agg in extra-time)
Standard Liege v Hannover
Valencia v PSV Eindhoven
AZ Alkmaar v Udinese
Atletico Madrid v Besiktas
Manchester United v Athletic Bilbao