Unai Emery proving to be the master tactician who figured out the Europa League. The Spanish gaffer winning his fourth Europa having won three with Sevilla. United failing to let their dominance in normal time translate to goals. Ole getting his team selection all wrong. Starting with two defensive midfielders would not have been a bad idea given that this was a final and siding with caution wouldn’t have been held against him. Instead he started Pogba with McTominay leaving Fred on the bench. Bailly and Lindelof started in center back for United. United’s weaknesses on set pieces were shown in the build up to Moreno’s goal. Should De Gea have come out to cut the angle?
Giving Cavani chances was imperative for the English side and they hardly did that. Watch the footage a minute after half time when Bailly attempted to acrobatically clear the ball instead of heading it out. The leadership of injured captain Maguire sorely missed. Cavani doesn’t need second invitations if you give him a sight of goal. He equalized in minute 55 although fortuitously from a hit and hope shot from Rashford.
It stayed level until the lottery or casino game called penalties was needed to separate the two sides. It was a clinic on how to take penalties under pressure, both sides deserve credit.United would wonder what if , what if De Gea had gotten more of a hand on Paco Alcacer’s penalty? Should they had brought on Dean Henderson who is more of a shot stopper than the Spanish keeper? If you stand in the middle as a keeper out of ten times one of them is going straight at you, gutted none of Rulli and De Gea gambled on it. In the end a lesson on coaches. Goalkeepers need to perfect penalties too. De Gea missing the only pen should not be held against him but should serve as a reminder that the days of the specialist goalkeeper are long gone.