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Villarreal Win Their First Major Trophy

Villarreal lift the UEFA Europa League Trophy


Unai Emery’s Villarreal beat Manchester United 11 - 10 on penalties in the Europa League final to win their first major trophy in the world of Football.

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The match between Manchester United and Villarreal was the first European final to be played in front of the fans since the COVID pandemic, and boy what a treat it was for those traveling fans. After the game ended 1-1 after extra time, it was over to Penalties and it took a while to break the deadlock in what was a high-quality shootout. The Spanish team’s goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli scored the final penalty to put Villarreal 11-10 up and then denied his opposite number David De Gea’s spot-kick to give his side their first European title.


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The in-form Spaniard Gerard Moreno broke the deadlock in the 29th minute of the game after Daniel Parejo floated in a delicious cross from a free-kick where Gerard managed to get away from the United defense to poke the ball into the net. This goal changed the dynamics of the game as we saw Villarreal parking the bus with United constantly knocking on their door. In the second half though, United finally barged the door down and equalized through Edison Cavani after Rashford’s effort from outside the box fell into his path through a couple of deflections, and the Uruguayan made no mistakes. This goal took Cavani’s tally to five goals and two assists in his last three Europa League games. In extra-time, we saw Villarreal coming back to life and United dropping back to defend but it remained 1-1 and headed straight to penalties. Out of the 22 players on the pitch 21 scored and the last penalty was saved by Rulli which won him the Man of the Match award too. 

This victory gave Unai Emery the 4th Europa League trophy of his career (2014.2015,2016,2021)  and his side Villarreal will now play in the Champions League next season despite finishing as low as seventh in La Liga. As for Manchester United, they still remain trophy-less under current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and will have to reset following a strong season in the Premier League. 


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In the post-match interview, Unai Emery said that “We worked hard this season and I think we deserved to win and to do something important. We are going to enjoy each moment but above all we are going to prepare for the next season to prepare in the Champions League and have this opportunity with very big teams.”


[Image Credit: Villarreal CF]