Wednesday May 26, 2021
Spain’s national goalkeeper fails
El final: Villarreal beat United after 22 penalties
The Europa League remains a Spanish domain: Villarreal FC have brought their eighth title to Spain in the last ten years. Because the goalkeeper fails at Manchester United. But very different from what you think. At the end of a tough game there is an incredible penalty shoot-out.
Thanks to great nerves, Villarreal have defeated the favorite Manchester United and won the Europa League for the first time in a final thriller. The team of European Cup expert Unai Emery defeated the Red Devils in Gdansk on penalties with 11:10 (1: 1, 1: 1, 1: 0). United’s Spanish national goalkeeper David de Gea missed the decisive penalty kick from the point, which created a party atmosphere among the Spanish football fans who traveled with them. The 9,500 spectators admitted to the stadium almost created a real final atmosphere.
Gerard Moreno (29th) scored for Villarreal in regular time, while Edinson Cavani (55th) managed to equalize for coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team. After three successes with Sevilla FC, Emery was able to hold the heaviest of all UEFA trophies for the fourth time. United, on the other hand, has to wait for the next big trophy after losing four semifinals.
A special date for the United coach
The fans, who have been missing for a long time in the European Cup, gave a foretaste of the EM games this summer in the modern Gdansk Arena, all of which are to take place in front of spectators under Corona requirements. “Vamos, Submarino”, let’s go submarine, sang the many Spanish fans in the stadium, alluding to the nickname of their club, even before the game.
But then for long stretches the game was determined by Manchester. The star-studded table runner-up of the Premier League season made the game wide and kept looking for old star Cavani in the center. Scott McTominay fired the first warning shot (7th). Solskjaer, who made United the Champions League winner with his winning goal in the legendary final against FC Bayern 22 years ago to the day exactly, looked relatively relaxed in the dugout for almost 30 minutes in a fine suit.
Villarreal’s record coach Emery tipped aggressively along the sidelines from the start. His team had a hard time – the table seventh of the previous season of the Primera División hardly came into offensive action in the first half hour. A free kick by Daniel Parejo was enough for the outsider: Gerard Moreno moved cleverly against the inattentive United defense and shocked the favorite with the opening goal.
“Hold against it with character”
Manchester, who had to do without captain Harry Maguire, who had not yet fully recovered, tried to regain dominance immediately afterwards. Solskjaer cursed on the sidelines as did Cavani on the field. But the efforts before the break were not enough to more than half the chances that Villarreal’s goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli thwarted (45 + 1). “Manchester is the favorite, but our character can hold it against it for over 90 minutes,” Emery said shortly before kick-off at Nitro. Villarreal FC played their first European final, and it was the 14th final of a UEFA competition for United, who had been accompanied to Poland by their iconic coach Sir Alex Ferguson.
Cavani’s goal after a deflected shot from long range by Marcus Rashford brought the English club back into play, which had also failed at RB Leipzig in the group stage of the Champions League. And Manchester put increasing pressure: At times, Villarreal only had the tight defense around their own penalty area for minutes, United around the increasingly stronger midfielder Bruno Fernandes developed almost overwhelming possession. In the last resort, Pau Torres blocked Cavani’s header, which would have landed in the goal (71.). Without further hits in regular time, the game went into overtime, in which the forces dwindled.