NOT TO BE
United were hoping to add a seventh European trophy to our collection, four years on from our last, but having got so close it wasn’t to be. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were the only players to line up in both Europa League finals, against Ajax in 2017 and now Villarreal in 2021.
With the tension building, both teams scored their first five spot-kicks. The shoot-out then moved into sudden death and the next five penalties were perfect again, leaving the score standing at an incredible 10-10. Both keepers got a hand to some efforts along the way, but neither could do enough to stop them going in. When it was their turn to step up and take kicks themselves, Geronimo Rulli went first and found the top corner. David De Gea, however, saw Rulli turn his effort away in what was such a cruel way to lose a final. At 22 penalties in total, it was the longest shoot-out in the history of UEFA finals.