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Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012

Man Utd advances


London — Manchester United advanced to the next round of the Europa League on Thursday despite losing its first ever home game in the competition 2-1 to Ajax.

Javier Hernandez stretched United's 2-0 first-leg advantage in the sixth minute before Aras Ozbiliz made it 1-1 on the night 31 minutes later. Toby Alderweireld scored with three minutes left but Ajax could do no more than scare United, which is in the second-tier tournament after it was eliminated from the Champions League group stage.

The English powerhouse progressed 3-2 on aggregate.

United will face Atletic Bilbao in the round of 16 after the Spanish side beat Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 to advance on away goals.

Valencia and Atletico Madrid also progressed, as did PSV Eindhoven and Udinese.

United started strongly at Old Trafford and Hernandez scored following good approach work from Park Ji Sung and Dimitar Berbatov. Ozbiliz hit a 20-meter shot past goalkeeper David de Gea for 1-1 and, after De Gea made a point-blank stop from Christian Eriksen's header, Alderweireld bundled the ball into the net from close range.

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