On May 26th Villarreal won the Europa League against Manchester United (1-1 normal time and then 11-10 by penalties). This is their 4th out of 5 Unai’s Emery Europa League trophies over the past 5 years. 3 with Sevilla in 2014, 2015 and 2016, one loss to Arsenal in 2019 and this year. Manchester United are still without trophies under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
The journey started in Group I with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sivasspor and Qarabag. Villarreal won their group easily: 16 points, with 5 wins and 1 draw. In round 16 Red Bull Zalburg tried to prevent Villarreal from going to the next round. The Spaniards won both legs (2-0, 2-1). In 8th round Dynamo Kiev were waiting for them and, as expected, it was a walk in the park for Villarreal (2-0, 2-0). In the quarterfinals Unai Emery’s squad defeated the dangerous Dinamo Zagreb (1-0,2-1); in the semis, Arsenal were waiting for them. Londoners were one of the favourites to win the whole competition, but Villareal got everything in the first leg (2-1,0-0).
The final against Manchester United was full of emotions: from 2 ungiven shots from the spor after the VAR overview to the longest penalty shootout: 21 penalties in total. First word was for Villarreal after the goal in the 29th minute, when Gerard Moreno scored. Then in the 55th minute Edinson Cavani equalised, 1-1. The normal time ended in a draw and in extra time the fans didn’t see any goals. So it was time for the after match penalties — which turned out to be an insane series. Every player found the back of the net perfectly, the turn came to the goalkeepers, when David De Gea didn’t manage to equalise his penalty. Personally, I saw in his eyes that he would miss. It’s important to mention Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer: they are the top scorers in the competition for Villarreal, with Gerard’s 7 goals, and Paco’s 6.
Villarreal are going to play in the Champions League next season, since the winners of the Europa League automatically get the promotion to the Champions League. Their fans expect positive results in one of the most prestigious competitions in the world.