Europa League champions!
Villarreal made history and became UEFA Europa League champions after defeating Manchester United (1-1) in a memorable final on 26th May 2021 in Gdansk (Poland).
After a 1-1 draw in normal time, in which Gerard Moreno scored for Villarreal and Edinson Cavani for Manchester United, the Submarine swung the tie in their favour in a never-ending penalty shoot-out, in which all 22 players took a spot-kick. On the night, Villarreal goalkeeper Gero Rulli became the hero, scoring from the spot and saving from Manchester United’s David de Gea. The Argentinian’s decisive save sparked jubilation at the Gdansk Stadium, the eternal witness to Villarreal’s historic achievement. There, the 2,100 Yellows fans, who travelled in force despite the pandemic, could breath once more and celebrated the Submarine’s first UEFA Europa League triumph in style.
Yellow fever in the streets of Vila-real
Yellow fervour in Vila-real. Thousands of Villarreal fans took to the streets to celebrate the UEFA Europa League title one day after the historic win in Gdansk. The Yellows organised a champions parade to share the trophy with the fans. Under the slogan ‘Europa és nostra’ (Europe is ours), the team took part in a tour of the streets of the town of Vila-real, in an open-top bus. Leaving from the Estadio de la Cerámica, they went along the main streets and avenues of the town, before returning once more to the stadium.
The response from the supporters was impressive. Thousands of fans from across the whole province of Castellón went to Vila-real to celebrate the win with their heroes. After that, the Estadio de la Cerámica hosted a private party for the players and their families, which was also attended by local authorities, club directors, sponsors and staff. The event at the Yellows’ ground signed off in style with a spectacular firework show.
A glorious route to the final in Gdansk
Before making history on Polish soil, Villarreal had a demanding journey in the UEFA Europa League. Unai Emery’s side booked their place in the final by eliminating Arsenal FC, winning 2-1 at the Estadio de la Cerámica and a hard-fought 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium.
In the quarter-finals, the Submarine knocked out Dinamo Zagreb with a tough win in the Croatian capital (0-1) and a convincing victory (2-1) at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Before that, the Yellows beat Dinamo Kyiv in the Round of 16 (0-2 in Ukraine and 2-0 in Vila-real) and defeated a dangerous Red Bull Salzburg side in the Round of 16 (0-2 in Austria and 2-1 in Spain).
In the group stage, Villarreal won all their matches against Sivasspor (5-3 and 0-1), beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv at home (4-0) and drew in Israel (1-1). Against Qarabag, the Submarine won 1-3 in a duel that took place in Turkey and were given a 3-0 victory in a match that was never played due to multiple cases of COVID-19 in the Azeri team.