Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea last evening missed the only penalty in a 22 fierce penalty shootout to hand Villarreal their first ever major trophy in a European competition.
Spain international Gerrard Moreno gave Villarreal the lead after the half hour mark in the Europa League final held at Gdansk Stadium in Poland.
Edinson Cavani levelled for United in the second half and the two sides remained level at 1-1 after extra time. It was the Cavan’s sixth goal in five Europa League games for United.
This was a disappointing contest lacking in quality and producing only three shots on target across 120 minutes – but drama arrived with the spot-kicks.
De Gea Denied
All 20 outfield players converted their penalties in the longest shootout in a final of any UEFA competition, and in an increasingly tense stadium, Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli blasted home his effort and then denied United’s De Gea to claim the silverware for his club.
The win saw Villarreal manager Unai Emery claim the Europa League trophy a record four times out of the last five finals he has appeared. Meanwhile, his United counter part Ole Gunnar Solskajear remains trophy-less for the last three seasons he has been in charge of the Premier League giants.
Villarreal are the first side to win in their first appearance in a major European final since Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup.
United have lost six of their last seven penalty shootouts in all competitions, only winning against Rochdale in the League Cup in September, 2019.