“They have been superior,” said Marcos Senna, after watching the first part at the Gdansk stadium. The authority of the expert did not admit doubt. Senna, who was a skilled operator of the machinery that governs the destiny of the game, knows that every game is the result of the interaction of two forces: order and chaos. For 45 minutes, United imposed their order because they played better. At the edge of the 30th minute an accident happened: Pogba tried to go long towards Bruno Fernandes and the ball hit Gerard Moreno’s back, very clever in cutting the supply lines.
The ball was able to bounce and go out of bounds. He could end up on the feet of a United player and unleash a counterattack. It could be deposited in the middle of an empty meadow or enabled any footballer. However, it went directly to the feet of Manu Trigueros.
If the divinities of football threw the dice in the air, the inexorable part of the game determined that luck illuminated Villarreal with a small gift in the infinite succession of accidents. That the ball was held by Trigueros, nicknamed El Maestro, is always bad news for his opponents. This time, he did the usual. Staying contemplative looking at the landscape, as if the ball next to his boot did not imply a mountain of problems. Planted in the United midfield, the Murcian waited, looked and, to the general confusion, gave it to Parejo. Another sorcerer who did the same. Control, wait, and show the world that you were in no rush. For the United players, who had been managing the ball and the territory, that was a small shock. In an attempt to strip Parejo of the ball, Cavani fouled him.
The goal was 40 meters diagonally. Parejo himself took care of the execution. Without company. Without fooling anyone. The left profile was a disadvantage because the effect of his right leg would not allow him to print strength to the center, at the risk of the ball ending up in the hands of De Gea. What he did was a masterpiece of touch: he pitched in such a way that the shipment traced an upward trajectory, overtook United’s stalks preventing them from clearing headlong, and landed heavily in the no-man’s-land part of the area. As if they had rehearsed it, Gerard Moreno came to the exact point of the fall and, amid the confusion of Pogba, Lindelof and Bailly, placed his left foot and sent the shot to the net. It was Vilarreal’s only shot in 120 minutes of competition.
The 1-0 put the final on the part of Villarreal in a skirmish that Trigueros, Parejo and Moreno – the advice of the wisest – knew how to take advantage of with the help of fortune. It was a flash in the middle of the darkness of a game that Manchester’s most seasoned team controlled in all departments except in the Rulli area. There, Albiol, general director of a tenacious resistance that only broke with a rebound, prevailed: after a corner and a rebound, a random combination gave the ball to Cavani, who shot.
If the 1-0 was a lot by chance, the 1-1 was the consequence of things that are not worked on, nor are they the merit of the coaches, nor do they respond to the art of managing the games. Perhaps because he saw it too clearly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United manager, watched Cavani’s goal with a crooked face. Pouting disapprovingly, as if smelling an unpleasant scent. His impression was correct. United only finished twice between the three suits.
The match ended 1-1 after a general block. The set of pensaltis unleashed another 21 goals. After a night that seemed condemned to the cequia, all the Villareal players and all the United players except De Gea, scored. “He scored even the goalkeeper!” Said Parejo, excited after the task. “We are going to play the Champions League next year!”