Manchester United’s four-year wait for a trophy continues after they lost to Villarreal on penalties in the Uefa Europa League final, following a 1-1 draw.
United dominated the early exchanges but could only send a couple of efforts from range off-target, while Yeremy saw a fierce drive deflected over for Villarreal.
The opening goal came on the half-hour mark as Gerard Moreno prodded in a simple free-kick delivery, a lack of defensive organisation costing the Red Devils – in direct contrast to their opponents who frustrated them for the remainder of the half, with a fierce cross from Mason Greenwood deflecting through to the goalkeeper as the closest United really came to an equaliser.
Edinson Cavani fired in a close-range strike to level matters after a corner wasn’t cleared shortly into the second half, with United quickly ramping up the pressure thereafter – but failing to find a clear route to goal other than through Scott McTominay’s repeated attempts to drag his side into dangerous areas.
Pau Torres’ curled effort flew over the bar as the game headed into extra time – with Villarreal taking the upper hand in the added 30 and ultimately triumphing from the penalty spot after David de Gea missed the decisive effort in a mammoth shoot-out.
Here are the player ratings from the final in Gdansk.
David de Gea – 6. Didn’t have much to do early on but fired out a wayward pass and was soon beaten by the first real chance from inside the box for the Yellow Submarine. Had a nice view of the rest of the 90 from afar, but was a bit busier in extra time. Unlucky to be the villain of the piece from 12 yards.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5. Every touch took him backwards and he was the direct opposite of an ‘outlet’ in the first half. Poor crossing throughout.
Eric Bailly – 5. Wild attempt to clear the ball after the break almost cost a second. Didn’t have too much one-on-one defending to deal with until into extra time and didn’t contend with it tremendously.
Victor Lindelof – 5. Got nowhere near Moreno for the goal. Collided with his centre-back partner in an aerial collision and generally not as assured as Solskjaer would have hoped.
Luke Shaw – 7. A willing runner as ever and defended diligently against Yeremy’s runs, but not as consistently effective in the final third as he has been this term until much later on in the game. Fortunate to escape unhurt from a very bad Foyth tackle.
Scott McTominay – 8. One of the early protagonists with some clever forward runs and willingness to take on a shot, but couldn’t stop Villarreal’s infrequent counters through the centre. Tried to force the issue after the break, earning the corner which led to the equaliser and pushing the team on thereafter. United’s biggest player by a mile on the night.
Paul Pogba – 6. Started spraying balls around right from kick-off after being restored to centre-mid, but faded somewhat and was comfortably outshone by his midfield partner.
Mason Greenwood – 7. Positive running at the defence, happy to go on either foot to cross or play a pass infield.
Bruno Fernandes – 6. Mostly a bystander in the first half among a packed Villarreal back line. Came into deeper areas to try and seize possession but nowhere near as influential as he’d want.
Marcus Rashford – 4. Tried to cut infield on and off the ball, but only added to the congestion. Never looked capable of opening the defence and was on the periphery throughout – and missed an absolute sitter with 20 to play.
Edinson Cavani – 7. Quickly became frustrated when a free-kick decision or two went against him. Showed his predatory instincts to net the leveller and had a good headed chance later on.
Fred – 6. Solskjaer’s first sub after 100 minutes.
Axel Tuanzebe – n/a. Final few minutes of extra time.
Dan James – n/a. Replaced Pogba for the closing stages.
Juan Mata – n/a. Came on for penalties – scored.
Alex Telles – n/a. Also on for a penalty – also scored!
Geronimo Rulli – 6. Fortunate handling once or twice but mostly untroubled in the first half. Had dived early and was out of place for Cavani’s goal. Saved a penalty…in the end.
Juan Foyth – 5. In the wars early on but recovered quickly and won his share of the individual battles in the first half. Later struggled to cope with Shaw’s physicality and lost out to Rashford and Pogba in dangerous areas, too.
Raul Albiol – 7. A real dog of war with his aggressive approach, desire to clear his lines and then bark orders at everyone else around him. Cool under pressure and held the line well.
Pau Torres – 7. Unusually caught with sloppy moments in his own penalty box once or twice but also made a host of clearances and blocks – including a close-range headed block from Cavani’s effort.
Alfonso Pedraza – 7. Non-stop working to support forward when required and being in shape defensively at all times.
Manu Trigueros – 7. The quiet but critical operator to get the team on the front foot. Excellent technique and vision as always, without lacking any positional or defensive work rate.
Dani Parejo – 6. Set-piece delivery was as good as usual for the goal, though was less impressive in extra time. Sat deep to help protect the lead and then showed his passing range when given the chance.
Etienne Capoue – 5. Broke up play however and whenever he needed to, not quite always within the rules of the game. Simple enough in possession and a few infrequent, and ineffective, runs forward.
Yeremy Pino – 6. A livewire down the right flank, not always entirely convincing in his dribbling technique but a problem for United to deal with and vital for Villarreal to relieve pressure.
Gerard Moreno – 7. Fine bundled finish on the stretch to open the scoring. Plenty of work rate and link play in deep areas.
Carlos Bacca – 5. Decent hold-up play at times, but never a goal threat. Lasted an hour.
Francis Coquelin – 5. Came on to beef up the centre of the park at 1-1. Didn’t, really – but did take the best penalty.
Paco Alcacer – 6. On for the final 15’, biggest contribution was taking an arm to the face.
Moi Gomez – 6. Replaced Trigueros, worked hard but didn’t have too much opportunity to create chances.
Mario Gaspar – 6. Final five of the 90 plus extra time.
Alberto Moreno – 6. Played extra time from left-back. One wild strike off-target, one good penalty.
Dani Raba – n/a. On for final seconds.
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