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Bosz praises Ajax for coping with pressure

Press Association logoPress Association 11/05/2017

Ajax coach Peter Bosz claimed the club's return to a European final for the first time in 21 years was "a victory for football".

Despite a nerve-wracking 3-1 defeat in their Europa League semi-final second leg in France, the Dutch side progressed 5-4 on aggregate.

Kasper Dolberg had given Ajax the lead only for Alexandre Lacazette to score twice in the last 79 seconds of the first half to give the hosts momentum.

Ten minutes from time an own goal by Nick Viergever, who moments later was sent off, set up a nail-biting finish but the youthful Ajax side held on.

"The guys were great with the tension, had chances and scored with one', Bosz said in his post-match press conference.

"There was nothing going on until the last minute of the first half, when everything went wrong.

"Lyon started to believe in it, the crowd were behind them and then you know it is difficult.

"At half-time I said 'Do not panic.'

"But in the end, especially after the red card for Nick Viergever, we had to survive.

"We have done that and the final result is beautiful. Call it a victory for football."

Ajax's long wait for a European final is over but Bosz said that was not the end of their quest as they prepare to face Manchester United in Stockholm later this month.

"A final play is nice, but finals you play to win," he added.

Lyon coach Bruno Genesio was satisfied with his side's performance, even if they came up short having left themselves too much to do following their 4-1 defeat in the first leg.

"I am very proud of my players. They went after them even. It is a cruel disappointment," he said.

"The players played a great match, we really rushed Ajax. Unfortunately it was not enough"

Despite his double strike, Lacazette admitted Lyon needed to be better in front of goal.

"We weren't far away from qualifying. We weren't clinical enough in front of goal and not effective enough defensively," said the striker, who has been battling a thigh injury which restricted him to just 15 minutes as a late substitute in Amsterdam a week ago.

"It could have been different if I'd been fit to start the first leg.

"Above all, we are disappointed with the way the first leg went.

"We gave it absolutely everything tonight and we were roared on by our supporters."

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