Villareal crowned Europa League Champions
Villareal have been crowned the Europa League Champions following an intense penalty shootout against Manchester United in Gdansk, Poland.
The Spaniards took the lead just before the half-hour mark when Daniel Parejo whipped in a superb free-kick with Gerard Moreno being able to escape the clutches of Victor Lindelof to stab his effort home into the corner from close range.
The Red Devils found the equaliser on 55 minutes when Marcus Rashford volleyed the ball high into the area where Edinson Cavani was waiting and pounced quickest on the loose ball to put his strike beyond the reach of the goalkeeper Rulli.
The Uruguayan striker later had a header blocked off the line after meeting the cross in from Luke Shaw before Rashford put his shot wide of the post meaning that neither side could break that all-important deadlock.
Unai Emery’s team started the first period of extra-time brightly but failed to convert any of their clear chances.
Defender Etienne Capoue, who was already on a yellow card, had to tread carefully following a challenge on Bruno Fernandes before he was later substituted.
Paul Pogba had a chance to win it for United in the closing stages when he met another cross in from Shaw but the Frenchman could only head his effort over the crossbar sending the game to a shootout.
In what was a nervy atmosphere surrounded by 9,500 fans, all 20 outfield players from both sides were successful in finding the back of the net.
Even youngsters like Axel Tuanzebe and Dan James who only came off the bench for the visitors minutes from the final whistle were able to perform under pressure.
It now came down to the goalkeepers with Geronimo Rulli stepping up first to powerfully smash his strike into the top-right hand corner.
Needing to score to keep United in the game, David De Gea saw his spot-kick saved by his opposite number meaning that it finished 11-10 causing penalty heartbreak for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men and crowning Villareal the European title-holders.