.Solskjaer misses the opportunity to win his first trophy with Man United as Villarreal wins the Europa League on penalties!
Going into the game last night, United were the standout favorites for the final. They had a good season in the Premier League finishing second and on paper have the far batter squad. Villarreal finished seventh in La Liga, so weren’t exactly having the best year.
This was a big game though for both sides in terms of trophies. United hadn’t won one since 2017, when they beat Ajax in the final of this competition. For them to go four years without a trophy is unheard of in recent times. Villarreal on the other hand had never won a major trophy in their life. Their manager Unai Emery is a specialist in the Europa League having won in three times before with Sevilla.
United had a full-strength squad available to them for the game, bar Harry Maguire who was out injured but made the bench. Villarreal had a lot of ex-Premier League players in their side, with Foyth and Capoue who both played for Spurs as well as Coquelin from Arsenal and Moreno from Liverpool on the bench.
Villarreal Stun United With Penalty Shootout Win
The game got off to a fairly close start with both sides not wanting to give anything away right from the off. United had the better of the chances, with efforts from Shaw and McTominay flying across the face of goal. Villarreal though were the first ones to take their chance, from a freekick on the 28th minute.
Their top goalscorer this season Gerard Moreno got onto the end of freekick to guide it past De Gea in goal. It was poor defending by Man United, with Lindelof being pushed off the ball far too easily! Emery’s side sat back after the goal trying to see it to halftime. United nearly got one back when Greenwoods deflected cross somehow fell into the hands of Rulli.
United were lucky not to be 2-0 down just after halftime. A ball into the box caused a lot of confusion, but was cleared at probably the fifth attempt! Cavani leveled the scoring when Rashford volleyed a ball back into the box from a corner and it fell to the feet of the striker who tapped it into an empty net.
Solskjaers side kept pushing but the game went to extra-time. The added 30 was much like the end of the second half, United were pushing but Villarreal defended well. Eventually, it had to be settled by penalties.
It was a very good shootout in terms of quality with it going down to the goalkeepers, with not one outfield player missing. Rulli converted his penalty like an experienced striker smashing it into the top right corner. De Gea though did far from that, simply side-footing it into the bottom right corner and giving Rulli an easy save.
The game was now over and Villarreal had won their first-ever major trophy. On top of that, they had now got themselves back into the Champions League, despite finishing seventh that year.