Villarreal triumph over Manchester United to win the Europa League
Villarreal survived a difficult second half to gain a draw after extra time in the first European final played in front of a crowd in two years during the COVID-19 outbreak, before going on to win a dramatic shootout.
Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno got on the end of a free kick into the penalty box and poked in beyond Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea to give Unai Emery’s side the lead at half-time.
Edinson Cavani equalized for United early in the second half, pouncing on a loose ball at the top of the six-yard box and blasting past Geronimo Rulli.
United had the better of the second half, but neither team was able to score in ordinary time, and the game proceeded to extra time.
The game continued to be fast-paced into extra time, and with no goals scored, the Europa League champion was decided by a penalty shootout.
After all 10 outfield players from both clubs had completed their spot kicks in the 11-10 shootout final, Villarreal keeper Rulli scored his penalty attempt before De Gea missed his.
Since capturing the Europa League trophy in the 2016-17 season under Jose Mourinho, Man United have not won a title of any sort in four seasons.
After three Europa League victories with Sevilla, Villarreal coach Emery won a record fourth title in the competition.
Emery joined Villarreal in July 2020, nine months after being fired by Arsenal in England due to a bad run of form.
The Spaniard eliminated his previous team from this season’s competition in the semi-finals before defeating another Premier League behemoth in United, but he said the feat was not a personal triumph for him.