Villarreal Wins Europa League, Beat Man U in Penalty Shoot-out Thriller

Villarreal Wins Europa League, Beat Man U in Penalty Shoot-out Thriller

The UEFA Europa League final between Manchester United and Villarreal ended in a enthralling penalty shoot-out that saw the Spanish side took the trophy home.

It’s Unai Emery’s fourth. The Villarreal coach has mastered the art of snatching the Europa League trophy at every final he reached.

Gerard Moreno opened the scoreline in the 29th minute when he steered Dani Parejo’s free kick into the net. But the game ended 1-1 in the first half after Edison Cavani found a 55th minute equalizer for the English side, pushing the game into extra time.

The next 30 minutes of play produced no goals, leaving the match to be decided by penalties. All outfield players scored their penalties, leaving the two goalkeepers, David DeGea and Gerónimo Rulli to decide the match. Rulli coolly shot from the spot to put Villarreal in the lead, and denied DeGea from leveling the score when he saved the Man U’s keeper’s shoot.

The result has left Man U trophyless for four seasons now.

Man U coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his side fell short against a team that finished seventh in La Liga this season, but now enter the Champions League as the Europa League winners.

“We didn’t turn up, we didn’t play as well as we can,” the United manager said. “We started all right; they got the goal with their only shot on target, and we’re disappointed to concede again on a set-piece.

“We pushed, we pressed, we got the goal, but after that we couldn’t control the game. They made it hard for us. We didn’t create enough big chances. Now is not the time to discuss what I might have done differently, but when you go home without a trophy you haven’t done everything right.”

Solskjaer was criticized for not making timely substitutions. Emery switched five players in normal time while Solskjaer took until the 100th minute before making his first change when replacing Mason Greenwood with Fred. He decision is believed to have hindered Manchester United from scoring before extra time.

But the embattled coach defended his decision, saying change was difficult to make.

“We had players out there, like Mason and Marcus [Rashford] who are match-winners. Bruno [Fernandes] and Edinson [Cavani] can create anything, Scott McTominay was the best player on the pitch and we had Paul [Pogba]. It was difficult to make that change when Fred had been injured for a week. But we couldn’t create enough chances. We needed to play our way into the box quicker,” he said.

The result thus ruined the prospect of English clubs winning both Champions League and Europa League.

It’s the first major title win for Villarreal in history, marking an incredible season for the Submarinos. Samuel Chukwueze, Villarreal’s Nigeria’s import ended the season in ranks with his compatriots, Asisat Oshoala and Kelechi Iheanacho who equally closed the season with Women UEFA Champions League and FA Cup titles respectively.

While Solskjaer has enjoyed the blessings of Man U board despite his failures, it’s not clear what this result will mean for his career as the English club’s head coach.

Share this post

Post Comment