Amazing Triumph for Villarreal in the final. Villarreal won the Europa League with a penalty shootout victory over Manchester United (11-10) in Gdansk.
After Gerard Moreno and Edinson Cavani scored in normal time, David de Gea missed a key penalty.
Scorers: Moreno 29′; Cavani 55′
Manchester United made the best start of the game, forcing two early chances with Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw both shooting wide from the edge of the box.
On the other hand, Villarreal took the lead when Gerard Moreno dodged Victor Lindelöf from a set-piece and slotted home from close range.
After a halftime break to regroup, United came out stronger and created a few half-chances until Edinson Cavani equalized with a well-deserved equalizer.
Marcus Rashford’s errant attempt was deflected two or three times in a congested penalty box, but the 34-year-old was on there to stroke the ball into the net.
Cavani nearly added his tally after Luke Shaw broke forward, but Pau Torres blocked his goal-bound shot.
Villarreal improved with some fresh legs but could not create any clear-cut chances despite getting close through Alberto Moreno and Paco Alcácer.
Following a lackluster extra period, the standard of penalties was extraordinary, with both goalkeepers called upon from 12 yards.
Gerónimo Rulli’s penalty saves David de Gea, who then missed the ensuing penalty, delivering Villarreal their first European title. Amazing Triumph for Villarreal in the final.
Villarreal won the Europa League after David de Gea of Manchester United missed a penalty shootout.
United went into the final in Gdansk seeking to capture their first title under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a remarkable 8-5 aggregate triumph over AS Roma in the semi-finals.
However, with Unai Emery in charge of Villarreal, who has won the Europa League a record three times. The Red Devils will have been apprehensive of repeating Arsenal’s destiny.
Villarreal takes the lead.
And it was the ‘Yellow Submarines’ who made the breakthrough in Poland, exposing United’s set-piece troubles that have plagued the defense for the entirety of the 2020/21 season.
A Dani Parejo free-kick caught Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof off guard, with the prolific Gerard Moreno slipping in at the back post to score his 30th goal of the season.
It must state that United had their moments in the first 45 minutes, but the deft work of Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rash ford wasn’t enough to prevent Villarreal from leading 1-0 at the break.
Cavani levels for Man Utd
However, it was evident that Solskjaer rattled his players’ cages at halftime because the Red Devils looked a lot more confident in the second half and clawed their way back into the game on 55 minutes.
Gerónimo Rulli force into a dive by Marcus Rashford’s deflected shot, which eventually fell at Edinson Cavani’s feet after some fine work from Scott McTominay to win a corner.
Cavani had all the time in the world to find the net and draw United level, with the Villarreal shot-stopper still stretched out to his right-hand side in anticipation of the original shot.
Rashford chance goes a-begging
In reality, United should have gone into the last 20 minutes with a 2-1 lead after Rashford, who had widely chastised for his performance, missed a golden opening.
Despite getting a superb pass into his feet in the penalty box, the England striker watched in despair as a scuffed shot bobbled by Rulli and narrowly missed the post.
With that, United’s greatest chance to end the game in regulation time had passed. Forcing the 2021 Europa League final to be decided over a further 30 minutes.
The final goes to penalties.
Extra time was a cagey affair, with Villarreal appearing the better team. At the same time, Solskajer took an unusually long time to use his allowed substitutes. Eventually turning to Fred in the 100th minute.
But, despite both teams’ best efforts, no further goals were scored at the Polsat Plus Arena Gdansk, and the final trudged to the nerve-wracking arena of a penalty shootout.
And get ready, ladies and gentlemen, because here’s how the shootout went down:
Gerard Moren – scored (1-0)
Juan Mata – scored (1-1)
Dani Raba – scored (2-1)
Alex Telles – scored (2-2)
Paco Alcácer – scored (3-2)
Bruno Fernandes – scored (3-3)
Alberto Moreno – scored (4-3)
Marcus Rashford – scored (4-4)
Dani Parejo – scored (5-4)
Edinson Cavani – scored (5-5)
Moi Gómez – scored (6-5)
Fred – scored (6-6)
Raul Albiol – scored (7-6)
Daniel James – scored (7-7)
Francis Coquelin – scored (8-7)
Luke Shaw – scored (8-8)
Mario Gaspar – scored (9-8)
Axel Tuanzebe – scored (9-9)
Pau Torres – scored (10-9)
Victor Lindelof – scored (10-10)
Gerónimo Rulli – scored (11-10)
David de Gea – missed (11-10)