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Villareal are the new kings of the Europa League. A fairytale story has ended with the glorious Europa League winners badge as Emery’s men demolish Manchester United on penalties(11-10) after extra-time ended 1-1.



On Wednesday night all the roads in Poland lead to the Stadion Energa Gdańsk as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United locked horns with Unai Emery’s Villarreal.



Spanish side Villarreal wanted to prove their metal to the whole world whereas the Red Devils were trying to replicate their past performances.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United broke their semi-final curse as their quest for silverware was increasing day by day. Whereas Unai Emery who had already lifted the prestigious Europa League trophy with Sevilla a few seasons ago was ready to demolish their English rivals.


But after a long and tiring game of 120 minutes, it was the Yellow submarine who emerged victorious that too on penalties.


And as the French referee blew his whistle, both the teams looked hungry for the trophy. But it was Manchester United who started the final on the front foot. With Rashford and Mctominay both getting a shot at goal but failing to break the deadlock. The valiant Villarreal were ready to face every United challenge.

The yellow submarine flew in with desperate and menacing tackles whenever an outfit in Red looked threatening. And Juan Foyth’s bandaged head and bleeding nose were a perfect example of the physicality on display.



The pundits believed that the English team would break the shackles first as they were the side with more possession and more shots on goal. But Emery’s troops never fail to surprise as their unimaginable dream started turning into reality.

Gerrard Moreno has carried Villarreal’s goalscoring ship on his relatively young but massive shoulders throughout the campaign. And once again he was the main engine behind Villarreal’s first goal. Parejo delivered a beautiful cross inside the box and Moreno sneaked into the back post as he stretched to put the ball in the net. The first half finally came to an end as one team walked into the dressing rooms happy whereas the other had a lot of work still to do



An ecstatic Manchester United soon drew level courtesy of some great composure shown by Edinson Cavani. A familiar face at Old Trafford, Cavani has become United’s go-to man since his arrival from PSG and once again he netted United’s first goal initiating the fightback.



An entertaining 90 minutes came to an end with the score being 1-1 as both the teams prepared for extra time. But even an extra half hour of football couldn’t decide whether the Europa League trophy will land in Spain or England as penalties followed.

And finally, after 10 long-lasting penalties, it was Emery’s army that proved too much for Solskjaer’s men.




Though Emery’s team defended for most parts of the first half, they looked very dangerous on set-pieces. A Maguire-less United couldn’t save themselves from Villarreal’s aerial threat.

Though United was creating attacks after attacks, Villarreal’s goalkeeper was rarely tested throughout. The shoot-on-sight policy didn’t seem to work for United’s front three. As the clock ticked on the Red Devils started to become impatient minute by minute.




And the failed attacks meant Villarreal always had the time to re-settle and get the engine running from the start. In the blink of an eye, the squad in Yellow’s top goalscorer Gerrard Moreno saw an opportunity and he pounced on it quite successfully.





Gerrard Moreno once again proved to the world why Luis Enrique’’s decision to take him to Euros was absolutely correct. Parejo delivered an inch-perfect cross over the top of United’s defense from a freekick. And the Spaniard poked home as a leaping De Gea couldn’t stop Moreno from scoring his 30th goal of the season.



Moreno seemed to have pulled Lindeloff’s shirt seconds before he found the back of the net but the officials believed it didn’t cause any unnecessary damage. And the Villarreal no.7 screamed ecstatically as the whole stadium erupted to see Emery’s side leading the game.



When the first half interval came to an end, Unai Emery’s men knew that the United won’t accept defeat without putting in a brave fight.
And as the ball was set rolling the Red Devils were starving for goals. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s half-time bashing had instilled the mentality and hunger, something they lacked in the first 45 minutes.



The second-half was no different as Villarreal was mostly defending throughout the first fifteen minutes. And the opportunity almost arrived in the 52nd minute of the match as Greenwood detected an illegal challenge on him and the United players screamed in protest. A VAR check confirmed that the referee was right in his decision but the fans could feel what was in store for them.

And three minutes later, the all-important chance came knocking on United’s door as El Matador netted another goal for the Reds. A corner into Villarreal’s box was easily cleared out by the lanky Yellow defence but the ball landed straight to Rashford who didn’t need a second invitation as he went for the goal.



The Englishman’s rocket strike was blocked by a defender but the ball somehow found its way to United’s man of the hour Edinson Cavani. And he couldn’t believe his eyes as he had an empty net in front of him and could have rarely missed. And once again United equalized after going behind in the game and once again Cavani was nothing less than a poacher in front of goal.



After an excellent and efficient performance for almost 120 minutes, neither of the two teams could outshine their rivals. It seemed difficult to get your eyes off your TV as the match had all the ingredients of a perfect finale. 

A first-half goal by Moreno gave Villarreal the lead. And a furious Uruguayan named Edinson Cavani spoiled their party. Finally, the title would be now decided from spot-kicks making it a game to remember for neutral fans. 



But now it was time to see who would turn out to be a hero or a villain for their respective teams.

It was Villarreal who received the first opportunity at goal. Two Spanish players came face to face as Moreno tried to net a penalty against De Gea. But it was the Villareal man who came out on top giving the Yellows a much-needed advantage.

Next up was United’s substitute Juan Mata who was in charge of the first penalty and the former Europa League winner didn’t disappoint as he equalized the scoring. What followed next was magnificent. Every player from United and Villareal scored from the spot-kick.

 Finally, the score was 10-10 as the two keepers stepped up to take the decisive penalty. The Argentine keeper Gerónimo Rulli turned into full beast mode as he scored against De Gea and then managed to save the Spaniard’s penalty.



And with Rulli’s save the referee blew the final whistle as the Red Devils had once again bottled a final match whereas Unai Emery and Villarreal were Europa League Champions. A fantastic journey for the Yellow submarine ended in the most perfect way as a dream they had seen just became a reality. 



Not to forget this was Villarreal’s maiden European final and they managed to receive the tag of Europa League Champions. The night is spoiled in England whereas the fireworks have just begun in Spain

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