Manchester United lost a dramatic penalty shoot-out to Villarreal in the Europa League final.

It would have been great entertainment for the neutrals. It was a painful, excretory watch for United fans.

With Villarreal scoring every single point kick, it was like waiting for United to be executed, knowing the ax was going to fall but not knowing when.

We found ourselves in unknown territory after United’s first five penalties, Juan Mata, Alex Telles, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani.

Because of this, United’s five shootout stars deserve a little more credit for getting their job done before goalkeeper David de Gea eventually missed his penalty.

(Photo by Maja Hitij / Getty Images)


The moment Fred came on in extra time, it felt like a case: “Here’s the man who’s going to miss the crucial penalty.”

Fred’s failure to score has become a source of frustration among United fans, with only one goal this season.

The Brazilian was in bad shape and some fans were glad he wasn’t on the starting line-up.

If ever a player was accidentally used as a fall man, it was when Fred received United’s sixth penalty.

United fans could barely watch, but for those who did, they were rewarded by seeing Fred hit a gunshot right into the bottom corner. Unbelievable.

(Photo by ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

Dan James |

Dan James is another player who shares this opinion and he knew he was under a lot of pressure to score.

The Welshman made it look easy and shot a high shot into the net that comfortably hit the goalkeeper and sent him the wrong way.

He didn’t disappoint United and in a game he said would be the biggest of his career, he can say he did well in the little role he was supposed to play.

Villarreal CF v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final(Photo by Maja Hitij / Getty Images)

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw’s sentence summed him up. Rulli got a hand, but by sheer will the ball found its way into the net.

Shaw, a left-back, is a rarity on the score sheet. There was a reason he was United’s eighth penalty taker and yet he did his job.

It would have been cruel if Shaw’s tremendous season had ended with him as a fall guy.

Villarreal CF v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final (Photo by Adam Warzawa – Pool / Getty Images)

Axel Tuanzebe

The only reason to have any confidence in Axel Tuanzebe as a penalty was because he came on in the 116th minute and knew a shootout was likely. This saved Eric Bailly from having to take at least one.

Tuanzebe had no track record on penalties, yet in this case he looked like an expert who sent Rulli the wrong way.

It was a proud moment to see the academy star enter a European final under pressure.

Villarreal CF v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final (Photo by Maja Hitij / Getty Images)

Victor Lindelof

Victor Lindelof was one of the bad guys for United that night when he lost Gerard Moreno for Villarreal’s goal.

The Swede was United’s 10th taker and that in itself spoke volumes about how United saw his ability to take penalties.

Lindelof made fun of it by scoring a penalty a striker would have been proud of. He hit high in the net and put the fate of the tie at the feet of the goalkeepers.

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