United started the game without their captain Harry Maguire, who missed out through injury.
Neither side were able to gain a foothold in the game during the early stages before Villarreal took the lead through a set-piece in the 29th minute. Moreno got away from his marker to poke home a wonderfully whipped in free-kick from Dani Parejo. The goal was Moreno’s 30th of the season and his club’s 100th of the campaign.
United were slightly rattled after going a goal down but gradually began dominating possession later in the half. Yet, they failed to muster any noteworthy chances with a compact Villarreal defense defending deeply.
They came closest before the break when Mason Greenwood smashed a cross into the box after a driving run down the right flank. The ball, however, deflected off Raul Albiol and landed into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
Early in the second half, United were lucky to escape from conceding a second goal. Eric Bailly’s missed clearance led the ball into United’s penalty area but Villarreal were unable to get a shot on goal as United’s nerves at the back began to show.
In an open game, Solskjaer’s side began to probe and eventually found an equalizer through veteran forward Cavani. Marcus Rashford hammered a first-time shot towards goal that ricocheted into the feet of Cavani. Rulli had already dived, however, allowing the Uruguay international to put the ball into an empty net.
United continued to dominate possession but also snatched at a number of half-chances that they managed to carve with full-time looming.
The game then headed into extra-time, with Solskjaer not making a single substitute in the regular 90 minutes while, in contrast, Emery made five changes.
Villarreal held the lion’s share of possession in the opening stages of extra-time as United began to look jaded.
Emery’s side were unable to find an opening but the momentum clearly began to shift in the additional period with the Spanish side becoming increasingly dominant. Yet, neither side could find the winner, sending the tie to penalties.
In a nail-biting 22-penalty shoot out, De Gea missed the decisive spot-kick to seal the Europa League title for Villarreal.
What has been said?
After the match, former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, who came on as a second-half substitute for Villarreal, said: “It feels really good you know? It’s been a tough competition. To play against a very good side like Manchester United, we knew it would be tough, but in the end we got the trophy.
“It’s something special for the club. The first title for the club, it’s something amazing.
“When you go down to the end, the winner takes it all. It was tough, we had a tough game. Manchester put a lot of pressure on us. We had to dig in to get the result. A penalty shootout is a real lottery. ”
How did Villarreal reach the final?
The Spanish side qualified for this season’s Europa League after finishing fifth in La Liga.
They reached the knockout stages after topping their group. Emery’s side then breezed past both RB Salzburg in the round of 32 and Dynamo Kviv in the last 16.
They defeated Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 on aggregate before Emery set up a semi-final clash against his former team Arsenal in the semi-finals. Over two closely fought legs, Villarreal edged past Mikel Arteta’s side to reach their first ever major European final.
How did United reach the final?
United entered the Europa League knock-out rounds following their group-stage exit from the Champions League.
They brushed past Real Sociedad in the round of 32 before emerging victorious in a closely-fought tie with AC Milan in the last 16.
Comfortable wins against Spanish side Granada in the quarters set up an exciting semi-final clash with Roma.
The 2017 champions booked their place in the final after coming out on top over two entertaining legs against the Serie A side, winning 9-4 on aggregate.
What were the starting line-ups?
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw, Pogba, McTominay, Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood, Cavani.
Villarreal: Rulli, Foyth, Albiol, Pau Torres, Pedraza, Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros, Moreno, Bacca, Pino.
(Photo: Boris Streubel – UEFA / UEFA via Getty Images)