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Matchday LIVE: Villarreal's Rulli saves De Gea penalty to win Europa League final at Man Utd's expense

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De Gea, Villarreal celebrate, Europa League split
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Villarreal paint Europe yellow


Thank you and good night

But at the end of the day, it is the underdog with only their passion to their name, coached by the overlord of Europa League success, who triumph in Gdansk. The streets in Poland will be filled with Yellow Submarines all night long.

Villarreal are Europa League champions - and for the next few days, the continent will sing their name after they finally wrote themselves into the history books alongside some of the greats.

That yellow is going to be matched with blue on Saturday though - but which shade will it be? It's Manchester City and Chelsea in the Champions League final - and until then, thank you for joining us and good night.

Villarreal celebrate Europa League final

Maguire the missing link?


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Do Villarreal get that opener in the first half if Harry Maguire is there? Do Manchester United execute a higher press if Paul Pogba starts up top and Mason Greenwood arrives from the bench to unlock the defence?

The what-ifs and maybes will haunt the Red Devils as they debrief on the way home, an empty seat gathering dust where they had hoped to strap in some long-awaited silverware.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's gameplan, in the end, was effective to a point. Alas, Villarreal's slower, scrappier invitation proved too hard to shrug off when it mattered at points - and David De Gea's painful penalty record came back to haunt them.

David De Gea, Man Utd Europa League final

Solskjaer: Not a successful season


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

If any further indication is needed of the measure by which Manchester United must be held, Solskjaer has just told BT Sport that he does not consider this a successful campaign, when asked: "No.

"We're getting better and better and closer and closer [to big titles]. We were one kick away from a trophy and a good night.

"We have to have the desire to come back next year, improve, get better. The only way to get the margins on your side is to work harder and better."

Solskjaer: We're not doing everything right


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

On BT Sport, Solskjaer offers praise for the winners tonight - he knows when he's beaten - but further acknowledges that his side failed to hand themselves the opportunities to put the game to bed.

"They made it hard for us, made it difficult, closed the spaces," he adds. "We had the majority of the possession and they defended well. We didn't create enough big chances.

"Now's not the time to point the finger at what I would have done different, but when you come out with no trophy then you've not done everything right."

Solskjaer: We didn't turn up


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

More damning - but quite accurate, given the overall quality of the game - words from Solskjaer now, who simply admits that his side didn't show themselves at their best in Gdansk tonight.

We didn't turn up," he adds to BT Sport. "We didn't play as well as we know we can do. I think we started all right, they got the goal with the only shot they had on target. Disappointed that we conceded again on a set play.

"We pushed, we pressed, we scored the goal, but after we scored we couldn't control the game and dominate as well as we wanted."

Solskjaer: United must taste defeat


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has pitched up for his BT Sport interview and the Norwegian looks to have calmed somewhat. He's still quite raw though, very much giving the impression of a man who has aged a year inside an hour.

"It's quiet of course, it's a disappointed dressing room," he says. "It's just... that's football for you. Sometimes it's decided on one kick. That's the difference between winning and losing sometimes.

"We've got to learn from that one. We've got to... not 'savour' this feeling, but taste this feeling and make sure you don't get it again."

Champions of Europe


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Coquelin; A 'fairytale' finale


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Francis Coquelin has been speaking to BT Sport, and is somehow keeping his emotions in check. (Seriously, that's some Terminator-style control he is displaying to not start jumping around like a firework.

"It feels really good," he says. "It's been a tough competition. To play against a very good side like Manchester United, we knew it would be tough.

"We didn't manage to get to the Champions League through the league so to get it through the Europa League is something special - and a first title for the club as well - something amazing.

"A penalty shoot-out is a lottery and we managed to win it. It was a fairytale of the competition. To beat them in the final is something special."

Etched into history


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Penalty pain continues for United


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Albiol: I haven't shot a penalty since I was a kid!


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

The celebrations for Villarreal are continuing well into the Gdansk night, but Raul Albiol has managed to spare a few words, mostly to admit that it has been a while since he had a spot-kick.

"I haven't shot a penalty since I was a kid!" he claims, in what is likely a bit of a white lie, but you can't begrudge him when he's on cloud nine.

"It's a big award and we're very happy to win," he continues. "We deserve it, but not only the players - it's for the physios, the entire coaching staff and our president, who was not able to come."

That sinking feeling


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

No super-sub for Ole tonight?


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

On plenty of occasions this year, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned to his bench to help win games - indeed, second-half comebacks have become something of a trait at Old Trafford under him.

But who was there today on that bench that could have made a difference? Alex Telles, Juan Mata, the unused Donny van de Beek, they all could have made an impact.

Yet it is hard to ignore that most of the players typically thrown on by Solskjaer to swing games - Cavani, Greenwood, Pogba - started from the off, and therefore slipped into the traps of Villarreal's game plan.

The romance of football?


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Do you remember when Manchester United looked to be headed into a closed-shop European Super League?

There will be no chance for such an underdog story with two other attempted breakaway sides competing the other continental final this week, but this will surely be all the more sweet for those who believe in the beauty of the game.

This was not a beautiful match - but many will tell you it is a beautiful result.

Villarreal take their medals


Now it is the turn of the Yellow Submarine and just about every player kisses the trophy as they pass it. Juan Foyth - still wrapped up from his earlier knock - gives it a big smooth.

Mario Gaspar and Raul Albiol are last. They take the trophy together, take it over to the rest of their squad - and hoist it high!

Enjoy this moment, Villarreal fans - it has been a long time coming!

Presentations underway


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

The podium has been built and various presenters - including Sir Alex Ferguson - are there to hand out the medals.

The referees go first, before Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes lead Manchester United up.

Most of the players immediately remove their runners-up gongs as soon as they have been placed around their necks. This one stings, and stings hard.

Hard questions beckon for Solskjaer


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Where does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer begin to dismantle this one? With hindsight, the fact that David De Gea had nothing to do for much of the evening may have left the latter a little rusty; he never looked like he would seriously save a spot-kick at the end there.

As Unai Emery is tossed into the air by his players, the Norwegian - known for his calm, measured wit to a point - looks understandably cheesed off. Tonight was the chance to put the first block back into the rebuilding of their success.

Let us not forget, he has taken United to back-to-back top three finishes for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired, and this final too. He's helped give the club direction. But this should really have been the end of that first act, crowned with silverware. He'll need it next year, surely.

Villarreal seal Champions League berth


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

Had Villarreal lost here today, they would have still been in European competition next season of course, having edged a seventh-place finish in La Liga to book a spot in the first-ever Europa Conference League.

Now, instead, they're going to be joining the big boys. The Yellow Submarine is sailing into the Champions League - where a rematch with Manchester United is not entirely out of the question.

Bridesmaids again for United


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

There's a strong case to be made that neither team was good enough on the night, but the fact of the matter brought about from this penalty shoot-out is that Manchester United's wait for a trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes on.

It is desolation for the Red Devils. They finish second in the Premier League and the Europa League this year. They entered as favourites and they leave empty-handed, shut down on the night.

Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani's fine campaigns, among other members of this United team, come to an end with nothing to show for it.

Yellow Submarine sink Red Devils in Gdansk


FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

The underdogs reign supreme in Poland. It will not be an all-English affair in next seaon's Super Cup; there will be no meeting for Manchester City or Chelsea with their Premier League rivals.

Unai Emery outfoxed Arsenal in the semi-finals, for what will have surely been a sweet piece of poetic justice, but this will mean all the more to him.

Full credit to Villarreal. Their plan kept Manchester United's playmakers quiet in the final third, took it all the way to the end, and have won with fine margins in a truly marathon penalty shoot-out.



FT: Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United


Heartbreak for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, elation for Villarreal and Geronimo Rulli.

The four-year wait for the Red Devils goes on. The lifelong wait for the opponents is over. History is made in Gdansk; Villarreal are Europa League Champions!



Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United




Villarreal (11) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

That is a fine finish from Rulli! But can De Gea put one past him in return?



Villarreal (10) 1-1 (10) Manchester United

We're on to the goalkeepers!



Villarreal (10) 1-1 (9) Manchester United

The centre-back opens up his body and sidefoots it into the top-left corner. Such quality. 



Villarreal (9) 1-1 (9) Manchester United

This is absolutely bonkers.



Villarreal (9) 1-1 (8) Manchester United

The Yellow Submarine's longest-serving player gets his effort past De Gea, despite a hand from the keeper.



Villarreal (8) 1-1 (8) Manchester United

By the margin of an after-dinner mint! That should have been saved and Rulli knows it.



Villarreal (8) 1-1 (7) Manchester United

Wjay a hit that is! De Gea goes the wrong way but that is absolutely buried in the top-right corner.



Villarreal (7) 1-1 (7) Manchester United

The Wales international sends Rulli the wrong way. That's 14 penalties taken and 14 scored.



Villarreal (7) 1-1 (6) Manchester United

Cool as you like from the captain!



Villarreal (6) 1-1 (6) Manchester United

Rulli goes the right way - but he can't stop Fred just finding the bottom-right corner. Now Villarreal feel the weight.



Villarreal (6) 1-1 (5) Manchester United

Straight down the middle and the pressure is all back on Manchester United.



Villarreal (5) 1-1 (5) Manchester United

The Uruguay international loves the pressure, doesn't he? Now we are into the endgame.



Villarreal (5) 1-1 (4) Manchester United

Over to you, Cavani.



Villarreal (4) 1-1 (4) Manchester United

There is a very, very long walk from the England international but he turns it well into the bottom-left corner as Rulli goes the other way. Into sudden death we go.



Villarreal (4) 1-1 (3) Manchester United

Alberto Moreno this time and no mistake.



Villarreal (3) 1-1 (3) Manchester United

They've nearly all gone to the left so far and Bruno Fernandes does so too. Rulli gets a glove too but can't stop it.



Villarreal (3) 1-1 (2) Manchester United

So close for De Gea! The keeper gets fingertips as it goes towards the left corner but can't keep it out.



Villarreal (2) 1-1 (2) Manchester United

The former Porto man built a reputation at his old club for spot-kicks and rewards his late change here, going to the left.



Villarreal (2) 1-1 (1) Manchester United

De Gea goes very early there - have the nerves bitten him? - and Raba makes no mistake.



Villarreal (1) 1-1 (1) Manchester United

He's only been on the field a minute or so, but the veteran Spaniard does not let United down.



Villarreal (1) 1-1 (0) Manchester United

No problem for the Yellow Submarine's main striker.

Villarreal to shoot first


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

This, let's be honest, has not been a classic final. It has been 120 minutes of football where there were just three shots on target.

But now, the theatre of the shoot-out means that it may well stick in the memory for something else entirely.

Gerrard Moreno will shoot first.

ET FT: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


That's it! The game peters out, the final whistle goes and we are headed to a penalty shoot-out!

How are your nerves, Manchester United fans? Suddenly, David De Gea has been thrust into the spotlight. He has not saved a penalty since April 2016. Dean Henderson has saved six since then.

The narrative may well rest with him. Hearts will be in mouths.

SUB: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


ON: Raba, OFF: Capoue

Dani Raba replaces Etienne Capoue - there is an extra change during this period if you want it - for Villarreal. It's kind of mad you can switch half of your outfield players out but regardless.

SUB: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


ON: Mata, Telles, OFF: McTominay, Wan-Bissaka

Into the second minute of injury-time and United have made their final changes. Juan Mata - who scored from the spot against Wolves at the weekend - and Alex Telles - a noted penalty taker before he came to the club - are on.

We are almost certainly going to penalties.

The Final Countdown


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Is there any late heroics to come from Manchester United? You'd actually back Villarreal to find a winner, they've looked more lively across the extra-time period.

This has been a superb piece of game management from Unai Emery. The old hand at the Europa League feels like he might be adding a fourth victory to his collection.

SUB: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


ON: Tuanzebe, James, OFF: Bailly, Pogba

This is a heck of a gamble from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He's brought on Dan James and replaced Paul Pogba.

Not the man you'd expect to see hooked with penalties looming. Axel Tuanzebe is also on, replacing Eric Bailly at the back as play resumes. We'll likely have some injury-time thanks to that stoppage.

Has the Norwegian got it wrong tonight with the timing of his changes?

YELLOW CARD: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


(Edinson Cavani, 113)

Now this is a bit of a strange situation. McTominay goes down after a touch off the ball, and Villarreal play on. A shout for a penalty against a potential handball off Fred goes up inside, then Shaw smuggles it away, then the game finally comes to a halt.

Cavani is booked for saying something out of turn to the referee while McTominay gets treatment. That was an odd saga.

A knock for Rashford?


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Albiol and Rulli have a spot of confusion dealing with a long ball and Rashford very nearly nips onto it. The goalkeeper does just enough to get hold of it.

More concerningly for the Red Devils however is that the England man does not look comfortable. He needs treatment and moves to the sidelines. Dan James is getting changed on the sidelines. He could be on in a moment.

Back underway


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Huddles over and an early free-kick chance - conceded by Lindelof - is then flagged for offside to scupper Villarreal's hopes of a lightning blow out of the blocks.

Surely now, the mind turns towards penalty takers. Mason Greenwood is off for United - so who would be the top five right now?

ET HT: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


Is the shoe on the other foot as the whistle goes for this next quick break? Both teams move to huddle with their managers, but there's something a little bit forlorn about Manchester United.

In the stands, Sir Alex Ferguson is looking spectacularly stone-faced. His old club have been far from their best tonight 

Every Villarreal player, substitutes in big coats included, have just had a sort-of group bear hug. They have never - never - won a major honour in their career. They've just as good a chance as anyone today.

Rain runs down in Gdansk


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

David De Gea is suddenly finding himself thrust into the thick of the action, which is not what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want to see. The keeper is being called upon to field balls from both his own side and the opposition.

The Spaniard is looking steady, but the rest of United are flagging hard as the heavens open in Gdansk. They have work to do.

SUB: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


ON: Fred, OFF: Greenwood

Now that is a concern for United. A loose pass at the back - not for the first time - is pounced on and Alberto Moreno blazes a wayward shot over.

This is turning into a war of attrition for the Red Devils, the longer they stay stuck down the other end. Alcacer sticks an effort over too a moment later.

Solskjaer responds with his first change, bringing on Fred for Greenwood. He will seemingly take Pogba's spot, allowing the Frenchman to move upfield.

History repeating itself for Emery?


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Fresh faces the difference?


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Those five changes throughout various points of the second half do seem to have given Villarreal a bit of extra zip following that five-minute turnaround to take on instructions. They aren't quite as passive as they were at points in the second half, looking to proactively press if they can.

They still look like a side who would be happy to go to penalties though. United, on the other hand, do not.

ET KO: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


We are back underway for the first half of extra-time at Stadion Miejski.

There is no shortage of goalscorers among the Villarreal ranks. The question of how they will approach this additional half-hour however remains up for grabs.

Will momentum still be at United's backs?

FT: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


Clement Turpin blows his whistle and we are on our way to extra-time in this Europa League Final!

Edinson Cavani's equaliser rescued Manchester United from their early lapse, but the Red Devils - despite their efforts since - have been unable to crack open Villarreal's never-say-die defence, through both some last-stand work in the backline and a spot of wayward finishing of their own.

It means we'll have an extra half-hour to see if these two teams can be split. The difference? The Yellow Submarine have made all their changes. United have a full roster on hand if needed.

Torres puts it over


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Pau Torres will try inside the box! It isn't as far away as it looks at first glance, but after the free-kick is speared in, he does flick it over the far corner.

That will surely be the last chance before the final whistle goes.

Three added minutes incoming


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Extra-time is looming in Gdansk. It has been a heroic effort by Villarreal, particularly in this second half when United have mounted increased chances to threaten them.

They have a free-kick now, inside the first of three added minutes, after Fernandes is deemed to have taken Moi Gomez out in the air.

SUB: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


ON: Alberto Moreno, Gaspar, OFF: Pedraza, Foyth

We perhaps did not expect to see this, but every Villarreal sub has been made now, and Manchester United are yet to use one.

With that yellow card, Juan Foyth is off, as is Alfonso Pedraza. Club captain Mario Gaspar is one of the new faces, and Alberto Moreno also joins in.

There's two minutes on the clock, with injury time to come.

YELLOW CARD: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


(Juan Foyth, 84)

Juan Foyth thinks he has got away with one there after coming in on Luke Shaw with a studs-up challenge, but the referee brings it back for a yellow card and free-kick.

Fernandes' delivery bounces around a few heads in the box but doesn't threaten Villarreal too much and Rashford then sticks a half-volley follow-up wide enough to drive a bus through it.

YELLOW CARD: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


(Eric Bailly, 82)

A Villarreal counter - one that almost reeks of desperation - wins them a fortunate free-kick as Bailly gets lazy with his challenge on Alcacer, and the Manchester United man is shown a yellow card.

The delivery is straight down the throat of David De Gea who - that goal aside - has had a bit of a quiet night.

United go close again


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

It's the McTominay-Cavani combo that nearly comes up for the Red Devils again! This time, the Scotland international races close to the right flank and cuts it back at the last possible moment for an attempted back-heel. It takes a deflection and tumbles away for a corner.

United are unable to find a second but they are absolutely hammering Villarreal around their box right now. Pau Torres is leaving everything he can inside those 18 yards.

Edinson Cavani, Man Utd Europa League final

SUB: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


ON: Alcacer, Moi Gomez, OFF: Pino, Trigueros

Back-to-back corners for Villarreal, in what is a rare infringement in this half, comes to nothing for the Yellow Submarine and they prepare to make another two changes.

Paco Alcacer and Moi Gomez are both on now. Is Unai Emery setting up for extra-time? There's a quarter-hour left for either side to ensure we don't get there.

Cavani joins senior select group


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Rashford snuffs a sitter


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Oh, Marcus Rashford! That is an absolute sitter that the England man has just blown from six yards out.

He may have been offside, but Bruno Fernandes had a hand in that and a lovely ball to the youngster in the middle is turned past the right post from almost dead in front, albeit under pressure from Rulli.

Luke Shaw cuts into the box a moment later and lofts an effort towards the opposite right post, where Cavani's header smashes straight into Pau Torres. There's under 20 minutes left on the clock and this is balanced on a knife-edge.

Capoue close to a second yellow


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

Capoue will do well to keep his wits about him, after he trims Fernandes down again with a rocky challenge. He's already on a booking and will have to be careful.

Villarreal will need to watch their footing though. They repel the free-kick steadily, but United are looking the far hungrier team on the park.

Cavani keeps Europa hot streak going


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

SUB: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


ON: Coquelin, OFF: Bacca

That goal has sparked the first change of the game - and given how United are continuing to grow into this one up front, it perhaps isn't too surprising to see defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin replace Carlos Bacca. 

It will mean that Villarreal shift to five at the back, as they look to resume their stranglehold on the Red Devils' attack. Is this the trick for Unai Emery?

Cavani crafting the comeback?


Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United

There's a yard or so between the Uruguay star and a second goal for Manchester United in almost as many minutes now.

A cut-back delivery finds Shaw, who squares it across the edge of the box for Fernandes to fire in off the right - but the ball is just behind Cavani and he can't reach back in time to divert it.

The Portuguese, off-target frequently today, is fuming with himself at that effort.

GOAL: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United


(Edinson Cavani, 55)

Edinson Cavani rides to the rescue for Manchester United!

The corner is headed out as far as Marcus Rashford outside the penalty area and the England man fires into the crowded box. It takes a few deflections and falls at the feet of the Uruguay striker, who pivots and leathers it home at close-range.

An absolute lifeline for the Red Devils, once more delivered by Edinson Express. It's all-square in Gdansk once more.

YELLOW CARD: Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United


(Etienne Capoue, 54)

Now that is much better from Manchester United! With a flash of urgency, Scott McTominay pops up in the box, turns three defenders around and fires a shot in from eight yards or so.

It sails well over the crossbar, thanks to a large touch from Pau Torres, and the Red Devils pile into the box for a corner. Moments before, 
Etienne Capoue is shown the first booking of the game for a scrappy challenge on Fernandes.

VAR: Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United


No penalty for Red Devils

The pendulum swings back the other way now and United push forward. Pau Torres has to clip in from a Wan-Bissaka cross and then Greenwood appears to be caught in the box.

There is hardly an appeal but when play comes to a halt a moment later, VAR takes a look at it. It deems there is no case to answer. Fernandes is less than impressed.

United on the rack


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

It's an absolute shambles at the back from Manchester United - and they ride their luck there!

Villarreal cut in on the left and Bacca goes close. The ball squirrels around the six-yard area and at least three red-shirted bodies have to stop Moreno from firing in at close-range.

The Yellow Submarine have executed a high press straight out of the gate. Are they going to play with more attacking freedom in this half?

Back underway


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

Villarreal have emerged once more and the second half has kicked off in Poland.

What do the Yellow Submarine have up their sleeve to keep the Red Devils at bay?

Teams reemerge


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

The Red Devils are back out in Gdansk, chatting on the field as they wait for their rivals to return.

United's second-half record speaks for itself, of course. They put five past Roma in the second half of that first leg in the semi-final, remember.

Don't expect that here, but surely they can offer a response. There are no changes to speak of yet.

Changes at the break?


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

What does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do now? The players that fans typically cry out to come on and make an impact have nearly all started 

How about Juan Mata? The only other survivor of that 2017 triumph is on the bench, and could prove canny enough to cut through the defensive quagmire offered by Villarreal.

Or do the existing players out on that pitch find the answer?

One for the purists?


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

You'd be hard-pushed - very hard-pushed - to call this one a classic so far.

Not that Villarreal and their fans will care. They have, for the most part, been in control of this game. They have restricted United's deliveries into the box, they've struck out when the opportunity has looked impeachable and they have a lead through the brilliant Gerard Moreno.

Unai Emery will know this game is far from over however. His side have to be very cautious from here on out. They've wounded the Red Devils, but they are far from condemned.

Fab Four for Emery?


HT: Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

HT: Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United


A final Villarreal corner is defused and referee Clément Turpin blows the whistle for half-time.

Well, that was not the first half that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have envisioned. He'll be hoping to not make it quite a pure repeat of '99 - that surely would be cutting it too close, even with Alex Ferguson in the ground.

Villarreal, built around the middle like a brick outhouse, are good value for their lead. They have one hand on the Europa League trophy heading into the break.

Static shock for United


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

There's just not enough creative movement from United here, is there? It's going to take a bit more flair to open this up; Villarreal are just enforcing a particularly blocky setup to skilled effect.

There's going to be two added minutes, which arrives moments after Rashford cuts open a half-chance by turning two defenders inside out and Greenwood sees a subsequent cross deflected into the goalkeeper's path. That could have gone anywhere.

Villarreal unmoved in defence


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

Villarreal, since their opener, have slipped back into their earlier patterns, holding the ball up where they can and otherwise allowing United to invite themselves into the final third - where virtually every outfield player is set up a big yellow wall.

Are the Red Devils missing some big game experience? Only Pogba and Rashford started their Europa League triumph four years ago under Jose Mourinho. They seem a little short of ideas on how to finish up right now.

The Yellow Submarine aren't quite as convincing as they could be when it comes to clearing their lines, but they've made no mistakes yet.

Paul Pogba, Villarreal vs Man Utd, Europa League final

Moreno hits magic milestone


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

United rattled by early concession


Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United

Well, that wasn't in the script Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was dreaming of today, and the Norwegian is right out at the edge of his technical area. 

They have a lot of attacking flair out there - if anything to compensate for the lack of defensive stability without Harry Maguire - but they are finding every door shut in their face.

Now, momentum is against them and they will need two to win. There's a long way to go still, but what could have been a molehill may become a mountain.

GOAL: Villarreal 1-0 Manchester United


(Gerard Moreno, 29)

Victor Lindelof, my word, what were you doing there?!

A free-kick for Villarreal in midfield after Cavani brings down Daniel Parejo some distance out and the latter whistles a sold free-kick in. It's the sort that should be dealt with routinely - but instead, the centre-backs switch off and Gerard Moreno is allowed to get the run on him.

The striker lunges out with a leg near the right post and tips the ball past David De Gea up into the top corner, wheeling away in mad celebration. The underdogs have the lead!

Pino pops the cork


Moments after Fernandes comes up just shy of a decent delivery into the six-yard area, Villarreal break back down the other end and teenager Pino flicks a flat shot across the face of De Gea's goal.

It runs comfortably wide in the end, but the potential fragility of United's centre-back pairing was made readily apparent there.

The Yellow Submarine look hungry to chase, and they're doing a good job at keeping this one a little bit scrappy too. It suits them more than the Red Devils.

Rabona klaxon!


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

Now that is a bit of skill from Carlos Bacca! Back-to-back corners do not bring a clear chance for Villarreal, but the forward then takes advantage of a poor attempt to clear by Marcus Rashford. and puts a rabona cross of all things in for Pau Torres.

The latter's looping header is off-target and way over the bar, but it is a cheeky piece of work to supply the opportunity.

Edinson Cavani and Rashford then have half-chances down the opposite end that don't seriously threaten Villarreal. Cavani - playing in his first European final - will very much hope to make it one to remember in particular today.

Shaw leads Red Devils response


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

Luke Shaw smashes a left-footed ball across the six-yard area now, after Villarreal head an Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross straight to his feet, and Bruno Fernandes gets within touching distance of diverting it past Geronimo Rulli.

The Yellow Submarine counter with a free-kick of their own and again work it for a corner off Bailly. The noise inside Stadion Miejski ramps up a notch as they move to take it.

Trigueros spearheads Yellow Submarine sneak


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

For the first time in earnest now, Villarreal stretch their feet into United territory and win a free-kick for a lazy Eric Bailly challenge. From that, they work themselves up for a corner of their own.

It goes long and Manu Trigueros comes steaming in on the far side of the box, only to spray his half-cocked finish well into the stand behind.

It serves as a friendly reminder though that Villarreal won't want for chances in this game like some think they might. Juan Foyth meanwhile has got a bloody nose from that earlier knock - and it is still coming too.

Young Guns (Go For It)


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

One-way traffic for Man Utd


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

Foyth is fortunately fine - fears of a knee or head injury are unfounded in the end - and United resume their push to keep Villarreal restricted to their rear third of the pitch.

Etienne Capoue concedes a corner off Mason Greenwood but Villarreal do well to repel it, before Pogba is flagged for offside on the left edge of the penalty area, running on to a looping delivery.

They're proving why they are a difficult side to break down so far, even if they haven't really got out of their own half.

Injury concerns for Foyth


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

That high press is doing some sturdy work on keeping Villarreal back, but Juan Foyth does a sturdy bit of work to take the ball away from Marcus Rashford now.

He tries to cut away then but appears to stand on the ball and go over, his head clashing with Paul Pogba's lower body.

The Frenchman immediately shouts to the referee and the game comes to a halt for the Tottenham loanee to get treatment. Unai Emery will hope this is nothing too serious.

Red Devils weigh up Yellow Submarine


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

It's a 4-4-2 from Villarreal today, and that comes with all the stockiness you'd expect from the formation. Unai Emery's men have gone unbeaten for several reasons, and their ability to keep hold of the ball in midfield, lead the game around the middle of the park, is one of them.

United quickly show that they know how to work around that with an early high press however, and Scott McTominay fires off an effort wide of the left post from just outside the box.

Greenwood a teenage dream


Villarreal 0-0 Manchester United

KO: Villarreal v Manchester United


The whistle goes and we are underway in the 2021 Europa League Final between Villarreal and Manchester United!

Teams emerge in Gdansk


Villarreal v Manchester United

The sides are out at Stadion Miejski and we're moments away from kick-off. Clement Turpin, of France, is the referee today.

Paul Pogba has a massive grin on his face as the teams line up. The World Cup winner has seemingly rediscovered his love of the game at club level this season. He will be needed tonight, back in that midfield role over Fred.

Famous faces pile in


Villarreal v Manchester United

It's not just Alex Ferguson who is here - Wayne Rooney too is among the crowd this evening.

The former Manchester United forward played his part in their 2008 Champions League triumph, and with Derby County's season done and dusted, he's hopped on a plane to Poland to see if his old side can win their first piece of silverware for four years.

They'll have to do it against a side unbeaten in Europe this term.

Wayne Rooney, Europa League final

Captain's knock?


Villarreal v Manchester United

With no Harry Maguire on the pitch, Manchester United have handed the armband to arguably their most impressive player this season - Bruno Fernandes.

He slots in at the centre of a very attacking line-up that are favourites for a reason. Villarreal, after all, have never won a major honour in their history.

But he will have to deliver a top performance if United are to emerge holding the Europa League trophy tonight.

Man Utd Europa League warm-up

Goalless in Gdansk?


Villarreal v Manchester United

Cazorla: A 'special moment'


Villarreal v Manchester United

Former Villarreal and Arsenal man Santi Cazorla has headed to Gdansk with the Yellow Submarine today and is in quite an emotional place.

"A special moment for everyone, no?" he tells BT Sport. "Villarreal is my family. I played for the club a lot of years, it is important for me to help the team and enjoy the final.

"They don't need my help now. When you play in a final you have a lot of motivation. But I try to support them as best I can outside the pitch and try to enjoy with the them.

"Villarreal have to take the ball and keep the possession. Gerard Moreno is one of the best players in the world, he is in one of the key moments of his career."

Solskjaer: Squad not nervous


Villarreal v Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dropped by MUTV to offer some quick words ahead of kick-off, and the Norwegian appears to be in a cautiously positive mood.

“I don't think they’re nervous, I think they’re very confident," he's said. "They’re excited, which they should be.

"I said to them play with confidence, play with courage, trust the way we’ve played to get here, don’t change in a final, play our own way and if we get a good performance the result should come."

Warmups underway


Villarreal v Manchester United

Torres talks down Red Devils links


Villarreal v Manchester United

There will be plenty of subplots this evening, but what about Villarreal's Pau Torres? The defender has been mooted as a future partner for Harry Maguire in defence, but was quick to shut down speculation ahead of today's game.

"One day before the most important game of my life, I won't think about anything else than what's going to happen," he said pre-game

"All my work and my team-mates' work has been good, and this shows it. I've got my contract with Villarreal, which is my town, so I'm very quiet about it, very calm."

Can Man Utd break Spanish supremacy?


Villarreal v Manchester United

Fergie in the house


Villarreal v Manchester United

Like the most celebrated of good luck charms - or more concerningly, a potential spectre at the feast - Sir Alex Ferguson is here in what is quite a busy week for the former United manager.

The Scotsman, of course, was the man in charge when Solskjaer netted that injury-time winner against Bayern Munich in 1999, earning the first of his two Champions League triumphs that day in Barcelona.

Days after members of the squad were at the premiere of his son Jason's documentary Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In, which focuses in part on his recovery from his 2018 brain haemorrhage, the man widely regarded as the greatest football manager in history is here to see if his old club can bring home some long-awaited silverware.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Alex Ferguson 2019

Fans fly in for special night


Villarreal v Manchester United

Up to 9,500 fans will be here at Stadion Miejski tonight, in another sign that the Covid-19 pandemic is slowly - and hopefully - receding to give way for a sense of normal sporting theatre once again.

They've flown in this week, and have been spending the day doing exactly what fans do on European away trips, which we need not explain in any great detail here.

And they're not the only ones in tow...

Man Utd fan Europa League final

Road to Gdansk: Man Utd


Villarreal v Manchester United

Cast your minds back to the start of the season and it is easy to remember just how brilliant the Red Devils were in their first European block of fixtures, seeing off last term's beaten finalists Paris Saint-Germain and thrashing RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

But a slip-up against İstanbul Basaksehir turned their group into a death-trap, and they ultimately came in third, relegated to the Europa League knockout rounds.

As such, they have always sported the tags of favourites to a point - and their performances have mostly reflected that, with 4-0 aggregate wins over Real Sociedad and Granada coming either side of a tough test against Milan.

Their pinballing semi-final thriller against Roma - a two-legged encounter that finished 8-5 overall, including a 6-2 first-leg win - highlighted both their strengths in attack and underbelly in defence; a cautious reminder that, in Maguire's absence, they will have a lot of work to do tonight.

Road to Gdansk: Villarreal


Villarreal v Manchester United

Sometimes it takes a lot of hard struggle to fight your way to a European final, but on the basis of the Yellow Submarine's results, it's fair to say that they have swatted aside most of their opponents in clinical fashion.

They triumphed in Group I, unbeaten against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sivasspor and Qarabag, and then nabbed comfortable knockout wins against Red Bull Salzburg and Dynamo Kyiv.

Quarter-final opponent Dinamo Zagreb proved more testing, but it was perhaps only semi-final rival Arsenal - Emery's old side - who proved a serious threat to vanquishing them along the road to today's showpiece encounter.

Gerard Moreno Villarreal vs Real Madrid La Liga 2020-21
Getty Images

Fans out in numbers in Poland


Villarreal v Manchester United

Solskjaer: Victory a 'stepping stone' to the future


Villarreal v Manchester United

Earlier this week, in his pre-match press comments, Solskjaer was drawn more towards what is to come than what is behind him however, indicating that he dearly hoped victory - for his first piece of managerial silverware at the club - could spell bigger things under his watch.

"This is a team that we've rebuilt in the last few years, hopefully this is the start of something more," he told reporters.

"These are big nights for us. It might be the stepping stone for a big future."

You can read further comments, thanks to Peter McVitie, here.

Can Ole repeat heroics two decades on?


Villarreal v Manchester United

Because, yes, as if fate couldn't throw up a tastier nugget, it is 22 years to the day since the Norwegian stuck out a leg to meet Teddy Sheringham's touch inside the penalty area, deep into stoppage-time, and guided the ball into the roof of the net for United against Bayern Munich.

It was the 93rd minute at Camp Nou, of a game that the Red Devils had been trailing virtually all the way, and it was the goal that would enshrine Solskjaer's place in Old Trafford history. He could have achieved nothing else at all in his career and he'd still be remembered as the man who won them the Champions League.

Over two decades on, he can become only the fourth United manager to win a major European honour. Could history repeat itself in Poland today?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United Bayern Munich 1999

Maguire makes the cut


Villarreal v Manchester United

So then, the headline news surely is the inclusion of Manchester United's captain tonight, a player who arrived at the club as the world's most expensive defender and has subsequently weathered the storm of scepticism to emerge as one of their most talismanic leaders.

Maguire saw his previous ever-present record come to a close after he was forced off against Aston Villa at the start of the month, and was later found to have ligament damage, throwing his shot at a first piece of silverware with the club into doubt.

His presence on the bench means that, even if he does not get on, he will still claim a medal if the team prevail - and his mere presence is likely to be a massive morale booster for Solskjaer as he looks to repeat some private European history.

Lineups confirmed


Villarreal v Manchester United

Team News: Man Utd


De Gea starts, Maguire makes bench

Two questions have dominated Solskjaer's build-up to tonight's game more than any other topic - whether captain Harry Maguire would play and who would start in goal.

The answer to the former is up in the air; the England international has not made the starting XI as he continues to battle ligament damage, but has been awarded a place on the bench, suggesting he could yet feature.

As for the latter, David De Gea, as expected, has been handed the nod over Dean Henderson, with the experienced shotstopper given the opportunity over his younger counterpart.

Harry Maguire Manchester United 2020-21

Team News: Villarreal


Foyth starts, Chukwueze misses out

For Emery, he has been handed a major boost as he aims to claim a trophy he has won three times before, during his spell in charge of rivals Sevilla in La Liga.

Tottenham loanee Juan Foyth has recovered from a hamstring problem and takes his place in the starting line-up, at the expense of Mario Gaspar.

Samuel Chukwueze however, after a fine season, misses out thanks to an injury sustained against his manager's old side Arsenal in the semi-finals.

One of those nights...


Villarreal v Manchester United

There's just something about a European final that sets the heart racing. For every foregone conclusion, there's been a shock sent from the heavens. For every beatdown dud, there's been a bobby dazzler.

And when it comes to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery, few know better than what these evenings can conjure up in the cauldron of competition.

If these two men have anything in their blood to share, it is European lineage - and neither will want to do themselves dirty on their biggest night of the season.

🎉 ⚽️ Welcome to Goal Matchday Live! ⚽️ 🎉


Hello and welcome to Goal's live matchday blog!

The domestic season is over in Europe, the champions have been crowned, and everybody can put their feet up and have a well-earned pint ahead of what will surely be a pulsating summer of Euro 2020 football.

But what's that strange sight, cresting over the hill in the distance? Is it a Red Devil riding a Yellow Submarine? Surely the Beatles can't have cooked this one up - but continental football certainly can!

It's time to settle old scores, to repeat ancient history, to see who will come out on top in the tussle between Spain and England for European glory. It's the Europa League final, live from Gdansk, between Villarreal and Manchester United - and you can follow it all right here.