The Red Devils ended another season without a trophy after losing to Villarreal in the Europa League final following a dramatic penalty shootout on Wednesday night.
Despite his side’s struggles to make their possession count and find a way beyond their La Liga opponents, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still looking for his first silverware since taking over United two-and-a-half years ago.
United started the game well and had a few opportunities in the first half to threaten Villarreal’s goal. Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka found space on the flanks, but the Villarreal defence was able to effectively repel their crosses.
A Gerard Moreno strike in the 29th minute stunned the Red Devils and gave Unai Emery’s side the lead. After Moreno’s goal, United stepped up the pace, but failed to create a clear-cut chance before halftime.
Early in the second half, Villarreal nearly scored another goal with a free kick routine that tore apart Manchester United’s defense. However, only minutes later, Edinson Cavani equalized for the Red Devils as he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area.
Following their first goal, Manchester United grew in confidence and controlled the second half. However, Villareal defended stubbornly and did well to force extra time.
During extra time, the intensity of the game took its toll on both teams. Following the final whistle, both sets of fans witnessed an epic penalty shoot-out that put them on the edge of their seats. Geronimo Rulli saved David de Gea’s efforts to win Villarreal’s first trophy in 98 years after an amazing 21 successful penalties.
Following an entertaining final in Gdansk, Villareal and Unai Emery made history against Manchester United by lifting the first trophy in their history.
Manchester United were the better team for most of the game but they weren’t able to capitalize on their chances and ended their own trophy drought.