Manchester United survived a European scare after Toby Alderweireld's goal sentenced them to defeat.

But they still advanced on aggregate to book a last-16 Europa League tie with Athletic Bilbao despite a nervous display.

Ajax fell behind to Javier Hernandez's composed finish following Dimitar Berbatov's fine pass.

Aras Ozbiliz levelled from 20 yards but Alderweireld's headed winner arrived too late for the Dutch visitors.

Although United remain on the road to Bucharest, the city chosen to host the final, the result took some of the gloss off England caretaker boss Stuart Pearce's decision to name six players from Old Trafford in his new-look 25-man squad to face the Netherlands in next Wednesday's friendly.

Pearce was at Old Trafford to witness four of the six - Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and Phil Jones - all start against four-times European champions Ajax as Sir Alex Ferguson named an experienced side despite returning from last week's trip to Amsterdam with a two-goal cushion.

"Manchester United will be pleased because they've got through the tie. But they did all the hard work in Ajax last week. The sloppiness in the second half was almost because of the belief 'it's alright we will score and go through'. And the way they conceded the second goal will seriously peeve the manager. They've just done enough to get over the finishing line - but the manager will not be happy with that."

The highly damaging 3-3 draw with Basel during their doomed Champions League campaign earlier in the season - when United led 2-0 before falling 3-2 behind - ensured the manager left nothing to chance.

But Ferguson was once again left biting his fingernails as United made hard work of going through.

Yet the anxious finish was in stark contrast to their confident start as Berbatov, making a rare start in place of the ill Wayne Rooney, made up for lost time.

Having teed up a chance for Nani inside the opening minute, the Bulgarian striker threaded a delicious pass which allowed Hernandez to take his goal tally for the season into double figures with a composed sixth-minute finish.

Trailing 3-0 on aggregate, Ajax, a shadow of the side that once dominated Europe, appeared as though they were just playing for pride.

United's last four European games at Old Trafford

23 Feb: Lost 1-2 to Ajax

22 Nov: Drew 2-2 with Benfica

2 Nov: Beat Otelul Galati 2-0

27 Sept: Drew 3-3 with Basel

Frank de Boer's side created plenty of chances and United goalkeeper David de Gea was forced to earn his wages but, more times than not, there was no end product.

They should have been dead and buried in the 15th minute when Hernandez tried to return the earlier favour from Berbatov by attempting to set up the striker to make it 2-0.

But to the visitors relief, Hernandez's pass was cut out by Jan Vertonghen before any further damage could be inflicted.

In an entertaining game, De Gea saved well from Ozbiliz before the midfielder hauled his side back on level terms on the night after firing home from 20 yards with the aid of a deflection off Jones in the 38th minute.

That will not have impressed Ferguson, who has moaned recently about the number of sloppy goals his side have conceded.

United responded with Cleverley testing keeper Kenneth Vermeer, but the save-of-the-match came at the other end in the 58th minute as De Gea produced a stunning stop to keep out Siem de Jong's close range header.

It was a crucial moment. Had that gone in then United might have had problems.

As it was, Alderweireld's winner on the night, a powerful header from Ozbiliz's deep ball into area, arrived too late to cause any serious damage other than to United's pride.

But Ferguson knows his side will have to play better if they are to progress to the final.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester United

  • 01 De Gea
  • 04 Jones
  • 12 Smalling
  • 20 Fabio
  • 21 Rafael Booked
  • 13 Park Ji-sung
  • 17 Nani
  • 18 Young (Evans - 61' Booked )
  • 23 Cleverley (Scholes - 61' )
  • 09 Berbatov (Welbeck - 71' )
  • 14 Hernandez

Substitutes

  • 40 Amos
  • 03 Evra
  • 06 Evans
  • 11 Giggs
  • 16 Carrick
  • 22 Scholes
  • 19 Welbeck

Ajax

  • 01 Vermeer
  • 03 Alderweireld
  • 04 Vertonghen
  • 05 Anita
  • 34 Van Rhijn
  • 42 Koppers (Klaassen - 46' )
  • 08 Eriksen (Thulani Serero - 60' )
  • 10 De Jong Booked
  • 18 Lodeiro (Blind - 80' )
  • 07 Sulejmani
  • 23 Ozbiliz

Substitutes

  • 22 Cillessen
  • 13 Ooijer
  • 17 Blind
  • 11 Ebecilio
  • 28 Aissati
  • 25 Thulani Serero
  • 39 Klaassen
Ref: Skomina
Att: 67,328

Match Stats

Shots

6 10

On target

5 7

Corners

3 7

Fouls

13 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:13 Full time

Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.

89:04

Aras Ozbiliz sends in a cross.

88:26

Luis Nani concedes a free kick for a foul on Ricardo Van Rhijn. Toby Alderweireld restarts play with the free kick.

88:03 Booking

Booking The referee books Jonathan Evans for time wasting.

87:31

Unfair challenge on Fabio Da Silva by Siem De Jong results in a free kick. Jonathan Evans takes the free kick.

86:11

Assist by Aras Ozbiliz.

86:11 Goal scored

Goal! - Toby Alderweireld - Man Utd 1 - 2 Ajax Toby Alderweireld finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man Utd 1 (3)-(2) 2 Ajax.

85:30

Paul Scholes concedes a free kick for a foul on Thulani Serero. The ball is swung over by Aras Ozbiliz,

84:33

Ricardo Van Rhijn fouled by Luis Nani, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Aras Ozbiliz from right wing, Fabio Da Silva manages to make a clearance.

83:38

Rafael Da Silva concedes a free kick for a foul on Miralem Sulejmani. Daley Blind takes the direct free kick.

83:19

Centre by Javier Hernandez, clearance by Toby Alderweireld.

80:54

Aras Ozbiliz fouled by Paul Scholes, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ricardo Van Rhijn.

79:49 Substitution

Substitution Daley Blind is brought on as a substitute for Nicolas Lodeiro.

77:45

Foul by Aras Ozbiliz on Luis Nani, free kick awarded. Luis Nani takes the direct free kick.

74:28

Corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani, save made by Kenneth Vermeer.

72:43

Fabio Da Silva takes a shot.

70:56 Substitution

Substitution Dimitar Berbatov goes off and Danny Welbeck comes on.

68:43

Dimitar Berbatov is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Kenneth Vermeer restarts play with the free kick.

67:09

Aras Ozbiliz challenges Ji-Sung Park unfairly and gives away a free kick. Fabio Da Silva takes the free kick.

64:44

Unfair challenge on Thulani Serero by Paul Scholes results in a free kick. Vurnon Anita takes the free kick.

62:48

Rafael Da Silva challenges Siem De Jong unfairly and gives away a free kick. Vurnon Anita restarts play with the free kick.

62:24

The ball is swung over by Rafael Da Silva, clearance made by Toby Alderweireld.

61:50

Paul Scholes restarts play with the free kick.

61:50 Booking

Booking The referee shows Siem De Jong a yellow card.

61:36

Unfair challenge on Phil Jones by Siem De Jong results in a free kick.

61:04

Unfair challenge on Paul Scholes by Ricardo Van Rhijn results in a free kick. Paul Scholes takes the free kick.

60:07 Substitution

Substitution Tom Cleverley goes off and Paul Scholes comes on.

60:07 Substitution

Substitution Jonathan Evans comes on in place of Ashley Young.

59:44 Substitution

Substitution Thulani Serero joins the action as a substitute, replacing Christian Eriksen.

59:34

The ball is crossed by Aras Ozbiliz.

56:39

The ball is swung over by Miralem Sulejmani, Aras Ozbiliz takes a shot. Blocked by Phil Jones. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Christian Eriksen, Siem De Jong takes a shot. Save by David De Gea. Corner taken right-footed by Christian Eriksen from the left by-line to the near post, Chris Smalling manages to make a clearance.

55:53

Effort on goal by Nicolas Lodeiro from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

54:42

A cross is delivered by Luis Nani, comfortable save by Kenneth Vermeer.

53:49

Miralem Sulejmani has a drilled shot. Rafael Da Silva gets a block in.

53:27

Short corner worked by Christian Eriksen.

53:22

The ball is delivered by Jan Vertonghen, Phil Jones makes a clearance.

53:12

Miralem Sulejmani crosses the ball.

51:39

The ball is crossed by Luis Nani. The referee blows for offside against Dimitar Berbatov. Indirect free kick taken by Kenneth Vermeer.

51:26

The ball is swung over by Fabio Da Silva, clearance made by Jan Vertonghen.

50:48

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Christian Eriksen by Luis Nani. Jan Vertonghen restarts play with the free kick.

49:43

A cross is delivered by Luis Nani, clearance by Jan Vertonghen.

48:57

Free kick awarded for a foul by Aras Ozbiliz on Fabio Da Silva. Free kick taken by David De Gea.

48:14

Nicolas Lodeiro sends in a cross.

46:37

The assistant referee signals for offside against Miralem Sulejmani. David De Gea restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Dico Koppers leaves the field to be replaced by Davy Klaassen.

45:00 +1:17 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

44:25

Fabio Da Silva produces a cross.

41:53

Ashley Young sends in a cross, Jan Vertonghen manages to make a clearance.

41:34

Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Kenneth Vermeer makes a save.

41:19

Ashley Young produces a cross.

40:18

The offside flag is raised against Chris Smalling. Kenneth Vermeer restarts play with the free kick.

39:11

Unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Christian Eriksen results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Ashley Young from right wing, Christian Eriksen makes a clearance.

36:56

Javier Hernandez has a volleyed shot. Kenneth Vermeer makes a comfortable save.

36:56 Goal scored

Goal! - Aras Ozbiliz - Man Utd 1 - 1 Ajax Aras Ozbiliz scores a goal from just outside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 1 (3)-(1) 1 Ajax.

35:10

Unfair challenge on Dico Koppers by Tom Cleverley results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Christian Eriksen from left by-line.

32:19

The official flags Nicolas Lodeiro offside. David De Gea takes the indirect free kick.

31:59

Corner taken by Ashley Young, save by Kenneth Vermeer.

30:22

The ball is swung over by Dimitar Berbatov, clearance by Jan Vertonghen.

27:53

Direct free kick taken by Christian Eriksen.

27:53 Booking

Booking Rafael Da Silva goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

27:51

Free kick awarded for a foul by Rafael Da Silva on Nicolas Lodeiro.

26:35

Vurnon Anita sends in a cross, David De Gea makes a save.

25:55

Nicolas Lodeiro sends in a cross, Phil Jones manages to make a clearance.

25:10

Free kick awarded for a foul by Phil Jones on Nicolas Lodeiro. Christian Eriksen restarts play with the free kick.

24:26

Dimitar Berbatov sends in a cross, Toby Alderweireld gets a block in.

22:53

Aras Ozbiliz takes a shot. Save made by David De Gea.

21:34

Shot from outside the area by Siem De Jong misses to the left of the goal.

19:22

Miralem Sulejmani takes a shot. Blocked by Rafael Da Silva.

19:01

Rafael Da Silva takes a shot. Kenneth Vermeer makes a comfortable save.

18:21

Nicolas Lodeiro gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rafael Da Silva. Direct free kick taken by Javier Hernandez.

16:57

Miralem Sulejmani produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.

14:21

Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the right by-line, Javier Hernandez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ricardo Van Rhijn. Free kick taken by Kenneth Vermeer.

14:16

The ball is crossed by Javier Hernandez, Jan Vertonghen makes a clearance.

12:53

Corner taken left-footed by Aras Ozbiliz to the near post, Chris Smalling manages to make a clearance. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Aras Ozbiliz.

5:22

Dimitar Berbatov provided the assist for the goal.

5:22 Goal scored

Goal! - Javier Hernandez - Man Utd 1 - 0 Ajax Goal scored by Javier Hernandez from the edge of the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 1 (3)-(0) 0 Ajax.

4:13

Unfair challenge on Jan Vertonghen by Javier Hernandez results in a free kick. Kenneth Vermeer restarts play with the free kick.

2:43

The ball is swung over by Vurnon Anita, blocked by Javier Hernandez. Corner taken right-footed by Christian Eriksen, Fabio Da Silva manages to make a clearance.

2:11

The ball is delivered by Miralem Sulejmani, clearance made by Rafael Da Silva. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Christian Eriksen from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Phil Jones.

0:51

Luis Nani takes a shot. Kenneth Vermeer makes a save.

0:00

The referee starts the match.

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