Villarreal beats Man United on penalties for Europa League title




After what seemed like an endless wait, and not just the penalty kicks, Villarreal finally win their first major trophy [Maja Hitij/Reuters]

GDANSK, Poland (AP) — Villarreal goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli decided a marathon shootout by converting his own spot kick and then saving one from counterpart David de Gea as the Spanish team beat Manchester United 11-10 on penalties to win the Europa League final Wednesday.

After a 1-1 draw following extra time, all 10 outfield players from both teams made their penalties in the shootout — leaving it up to the two goalkeepers to take the 11th.

Rulli sent his penalty into the top corner but De Gea’s lacked power and was stopped by the Villarreal keeper.

It gave Villarreal its first major trophy and secured a fourth Europa League title for its coach, Unai Emery.

It also ensured that United went a fourth consecutive season without a trophy for the first time since the 1980s. United’s last silverware was the Europa League in 2017.

The deciding factor [Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

United dominated the early possession but it was Villarreal who made the breakthrough. Gerard Moreno pushed past Victor Lindelöf at a free kick in the 29th minute and strained to prod Daniel Perejo’s cross past De Gea in the United goal.

United drew level with its own goal at a set piece when Edinson Cavani reacted quickest to knock the ball in after Marcus Rashford’s low shot was deflected following a corner. A video review ruled the Uruguayan onside for his sixth goal of the season in the Europa League, all of them in the last four games.

United could soon have had a second, if not for Rashford scuffing a shot wide when one-on-one with goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli. Another missed chance followed when Pau Torres blocked a Cavani header.

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