Villarreal upset Man Utd in UEL final

UEFA Europa League

Villarreal were crowned UEFA Europa League champions for the first time after defeating Manchester United in a dramatic penalty shoot-out on Wednesday evening.

Man United captain Harry Maguire had to settle for a place on the bench after not recovering fully from an ankle injury and was replaced by Eric Bailly.

The Red Devils came close to breaking the deadlock in the 20th minute after a cross was cleared on the path of Luke Shaw, unmarked on the left channel but his strike across goal evaded the target and his teammates at the back post.

Villarreal eventually went ahead on the half-hour mark after Gerard Moreno pulled away at the back post and poked home a strike beyond the reach of goalkeeper David De Gea.

Unai Emery's charges were dropping deep in their own half in the closing phase of the first stanza, with United having to break them down but they could not carve out openings, with shot-stopper Geronimo Rulli not having much to do .

Click through the gallery below to see the world's most valuable clubs

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's troops had a bright start in the second stanza and Cavani snatched the equaliser ten minutes from the break with a close-range strike after Villarreal failed to clear their lines from a corner.

The Yellow Submarine had their backs against the wall and Emery made a tactical change on the hour-mark, bringing on midfielder Francis Coquelin in place of striker Carlos Bacca to shore up the midfield.

The Red Devils kept on putting Villarreal under pressure, with Cavani going close to giving them the lead in the last 20 minutes with a header from Shaw's cross that was cleared away by Pau Torres.

Emery responded by making a double attacking change in the last 13 minutes, as Paco Alcacer replaced Yeremi Pino and Moi Gomez came on for Manu Trigueros.

However, Paul Pogba came close to getting the winner for United with a header in the last minute from Shaw's cross that sailed over the bar and the match went to extra-time after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

Moreno had a chance to snatch the winner for Villarreal with seven minutes remaining after an offload from Coquelin but his strike was blocked by Fred, sending the game to penalties.

After all 10 outfield players converted, it was left to the goalkeepers as Rulli scored his penalty for Villarreal and saved De Gea's spot-kick to hand the Spanish side their first European title.

comments