• Thomas Barnes

Man United suffer European Heartbreak following dramatic shootout

David De Gea failed to convert his penalty to gift Villareal the Europa League Trophy following an emphatic penalty shootout. Unai Emery has become the first manager to win the tournament for a fourth time.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s lineup showed a real attacking intent. However, his side’s first real chance fell to Scott Mctominay on the edge of the box who dragged his shot well wide of the post.

The game began with a spell of dominance from United, but this was put to a halt when Juan Foyth went down with what seemed a nasty head injury following a collision with Paul Pogba.

The first chance for Villareal fell to Manu Trigueros who fired well over from a teasing cross from Dani Parejo.

After being pegged back in the opening stages of the encounter, the Spanish outfit began to find their feet and Eighteen Year-old Pino, who was a threat on the break, dragged his shot just wide of the post after a dangerous counter attack.

On the half hour mark, Villareal broke the deadlock. Unsurprisingly, it comes from a fantastic ball from Parejo who picked out Gerard Moreno who had the simple task of diverting the ball home from close range.

On the stroke of half time, United get their first bit of luck on the flanks. A bright run from Mason Greenwood ends in the youngster firing across the goal with Rulli grateful the ball bounced off his defender into his arms, and not into the back of the Villareal net.

United breathed a sigh of relief at the start of the second half as another lofted ball tested Ole’s defence and a goal mouth scramble is put to bed with a desperate clearance from Eric Bailly.

Following a nervy VAR check, Edinson Cavani drew United level as the Uruguayan managed to get himself back onside to react to a blocked effort from Marcus Rashford to convert comfortably past Rulli.

United’s tails were up following their equaliser and moments after, Bruno Fernandes’ long range effort arrowed narrowly wide of the post.

Since the equaliser, Unai Emery saw his team have their backs against the wall with United looking more and more threatening. The biggest chance came to Rashford. Bruno Fernandes picked the Englishman out in the penalty box who looked a cert to tap home from 5 yards out, but Rashford saw his shot go well wide of the Villareal goal.

The last chance before extra time fell to Pau Torres who couldn’t wrap his foot round the ball enough to find the far corner. A chance that Emery would’ve loved to have fallen to one of his attackers.

The first half of extra time showed United beginning to tire, with Ole not making a substitution until the 100th minute. Gaps began to open in the United defence, former Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno had a good chance to put Villareal ahead, but the Spaniard fired over. Paco Alcacer was the next to chance his luck from distance, but he struck over too.

After an uneventful extra time, the game was to be decided by penalties. David De Gea missed the only penalty in an enthralling Penalty Shootout. It comes with no surprise that the last team to win the Europa League on penalties was a Sevilla side managed by Unai Emery.