It was a records'-breaking night on Wednesday in Gdansk, Poland, venue of the 2021 Europa League final as Villarreal took the battle to Manchester United in a match that culminated in a pulsating penalty shootout won 11-10 by the yellow Submarines.
It was the sixth time both teams were meeting across European competitions, with their previous five meetings ending in barren draws. It was a match to see draws the first blood.
Villarreal's manager, Unai Emery, came into the game as the competition's most successful manager, having reached four finals, winning three (with Sevilla) and lost with Arsenal to Chelsea in 2019.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a late call to drop captain, Harry Maguire who was just recuperating from injury, a presence that has meant so much for the Devils this season.
United got off to a good start and on the 7th minute, Scott McTominay got the first effort from the edge of the Villarreal box after receiving a pass from Marcus Rashford. His effort was dragged wide from such a promising position.
Villarreal were also at the party and got their own opportunity on the 15th minute. Manu Rigueros digging deep to meet a Dani Parejo corner kick, but his effort from a stretched volley went just over.
Paul Pogba was almost punished for failing to clear his lines on the 23rd minute as Carlos Bacca wins the ball on the inside left. The 34-year old could do little to trouble David de Gea in goal.
Six minutes later, the coloration of the game would change as Villarreal took the lead. Dani Parejo, who has been an influential creator for the Spanish side throughout the season, lofted in a cross deep into the area and regular culprit, Gerard Moreno was in the mix at the far post to score the opener, his 7th in 13 appearances in this season's Europa league.
Manchester United, although, saw better possession of the ball, they were unable to break down the resilient Villarreal defence who were also resilient against United's league rivals, Arsenal in the semifinal.
A Scott McTominay effort on the 54th minute sailed well over the bar via a Pau Toress deflection and less than 60 seconds later, Man United were back on parity, courtesy of Edison Cavani.
A corner kick into the Villarreal box was not properly dealt with by the Submarines, which allowed Marcus Rashford to strike from 20 yards out. His effort deflected off McTominay unto the path of Cavani who will see no easier finish from close range than that.
Rashford could have beeb beating himself up for Man United's loss as he spunned a sitter on the 70th minute. Bruno Fernandes, arguably the Reds best player of the season put the ball on a platter for the English man, but he failed to find the net from close range. He was, however, relieved to see the offside flag go up, which means the goal wouldn't have counted had it gone in. What a huge let off.
The game failed to produce any further goalscoring opportunities as both teams struggled to break down each other's defence for the remainder of the regular time and through extra time. Off it went into penalties.
An extended rally of expertly taken penalties saw all ten outfield players of each team score, even though Villarreal's Gunaromi Rulli got a hand to a couple of Manchester United penalties, leaving it all to the goalkeepers to decide.
The Villarreal Argentine goalkeeper stepped up to fiercely power his kick into the top right corner, before going ahead to stop David de Gea's tame penalty to the bottom right corner.
The victory saw Villarreal win the first major European trophy in the club's history and the fourth UEFA/Europa League Cup for coach Unai Emery.
In what was the first final for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United, he has now failed to win any title for the Reds in his two year stint.