The yellow submarine makes history: Villarreal FC defeated the English record champions Manchester United in the biggest game in their club history and won the Europe League for the first time. The team of the successful coach Unai Emery won the final in an almost endless penalty shootout with 11:10. After 120 minutes it was 1: 1 (1: 1, 1: 0) in Danzig, Poland. Villarreal won its first major title in its first international final.
Top striker Gerard Moreno (29th) had put the Spaniards in the lead in front of 9,500 spectators, Edinson Cavani (55th) equalized in a less grueling game. Villarreal’s goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli then held the penalty shoot-out decisively against United goalkeeper David de Gea – all field players had already shot.
At the end of the evening there was an unexpected and expected success. Although Villarreal FC, founded in 1923, had no triumphs before, Coach Emery is a Europa League expert: he won the 15 kg silver cup with Sevilla FC three times (2014, 2015, 2016), and he has now stood a total of five times in the final.
Manchester United, on the other hand, has now stumbled on its intended path back to the top of Europe. The club, which was once so spoiled for success, has been waiting for a title since 2017, and the final on Wednesday should actually bring the first visible earnings under team manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian, who hurried from success to success as a striker with United around the turn of the millennium, has been in office since the end of 2018.
Also because of the season so far, Manchester was the favorite in this final. After the end in the group stage of the Champions League, the Red Devils had caught up again, in the Premier League so the extremely respectable second place jumped out behind their city rivals City.
Manchester United – Villarreal CF: the line-ups
The lead fell well deserved: Moreno, who is also in Spain’s EM squad due to his top form, exploited a free kick by Daniel Parejo to make it 1-0. United were initially not more compelling in the second half, Villarreal defended resolutely – but then fell victim to a set piece themselves. After a corner, the ball fell at Cavani’s feet, who only had to insert.
As a result, the game flattened out, however, and the equalization did not bring United any new momentum. Until extra time, the two hits remained the teams’ only shot at the opponent’s goal.