Villarreal beats Manchester United on penalties to win Europa League

Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli scored the decisive penalty and saved his counterpart David de Gea's attempt as the Spanish team claimed its first European title.

Villarreal players celebrate with the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League trophy after defeating Manchester United via a penalty shootout during the final in Gdansk, Poland.   -  Getty Images

Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli decided a marathon shootout by converting his own spot-kick and then saving one from counterpart David de Gea as the La Liga team beat Manchester United 11-10 on penalties to win the Europa League final in Gdansk on Wednesday.

After a 1-1 draw following extra time in Poland, all 10 outfield players from both teams scored their penalties in the shootout — leaving it up to the two goalkeepers to take the 11th.

Rulli sent his penalty into the top corner but De Gea's lacked power and was stopped by the Villarreal keeper. It gave the Spanish outfit its first major trophy and secured a fourth Europa League title for its head coach, Unai Emery.


MATCH BLOG | Europa League final highlights: Villarreal defeats Manchester United to win title

It also ensured that United went a fourth consecutive season without a trophy for the first time since the 1980s. United's last silverware was the Europa League in 2017.

United dominated the early possession but it was Villarreal which made the breakthrough. Gerard Moreno pushed past Victor Lindelof during a free-kick in the 29th minute and strained to prod Daniel Parejo's cross past De Gea in the United goal.

United drew level with its own goal from a set-piece when Edinson Cavani reacted quickest to knock the ball in after Marcus Rashford's low shot was deflected following a corner. A video review ruled the Uruguayan onside for his sixth goal of the season in the UEFA Europa League, all of them in the last four games.

United could soon have had a second, if not for Rashford scuffing a shot wide when one-on-one with goalkeeper Rulli. Another missed chance followed when Pau Torres blocked a Cavani header.

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