Man United, Villarreal Set For Europa League Final, Following Victory Over Roma And Arsenal Respectively. (Match Reports And Highlights)

Manchester United set to face Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final which will take place on Wednesday, 26th May at the Gdansk stadium in Poland on May 26. 

The Red Devils reached the final following an 8-5 victory on aggregate, despites loosing 3-2 to Roma in the semi-final second leg clash at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome on Thursday night.

Already holding a commanding 6-2 lead from the first leg,  Edinson Cavani opened scoring on he night, as he blasted home his third goal of the tie six minutes before half-time.

The second-half began quite intense for the United backline with Roma hitting them with more pressure, which finally saw the Italian side finding the net twice in the space of three-minutes through Edin Dzeko in the 57th, and Bryan Cristante in the 60th mins to turn the game on its head.

Cavani headed the visitors level in the 68th mins, but 19-year-old debutant Nicola Zalewski's shot took a big deflection off Alex Telles own goal in the 83rd mins to beat De Gea as Roma secured the 3-2 win on the night.

United had goalkeeper David de Gea to thank for not going further behind as the Spaniard produced a string of superb saves as they advance to the final on aggregate scoreline.

Roma are now unbeaten in 12 European games on home soil (W8 D4), since a 2-0 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage in November 2018.

The victory for United takes them to their first final in three-years of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era but lost their seven-match unbeaten record in an entertaining Europa League last-four tie with Roma.

United last reached, and won, the Europa League final in 2017 under Jose Mourinho.

Earlier this week Mourinho, who last led United to a trophy win was surprisingly named as Roma’s new coach this week, and would now be responsible for reviving Roma's fortunes next season.

Solskjaer’s team had suffered eliminations in all four previous cup semi-finals under the Norwegian (two League Cup, one FA Cup and one Europa League) since succeeding Mourinho in December 2017.

The United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, speaking afrer the game said: 

"It feels good to be in the final. We played one very, very good half at Old Trafford which has taken us through. I'm disappointed we lost - especially the way we played in the second half.

"It could easily have been 8-6 to them. It was a strange game. We kept giving them the ball but luckily we have one of the the best keepers in the world. We are in the final and are looking forward to 26 May."

Meanwhile. Villarreal also qualified for the final of a major European Cup for the first time in the club's history after eliminating Arsenal 2-1 on aggregate in the semifinal.

Villarreal held out for a 0-0 draw in the second leg clash at the Emirates stadium on Thursday night, but reach the Europa League final due to the first leg 2-1 win advantage they had in Spain last week,  as visiting manager Unai Emery returned to haunt the London club that sacked him in 2019.

The victory for Villarreal prevented another all-English final so there was no repeat of the 2018-19 season when both the Champions League and Europa League final featured only English teams. 

Arsenal now face the prospect of having no European football next season for the first time in 25 years, as they are currently in ninth spot in the Premier League table.

"We are devastated, and really disappointed," said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta who is now at risk of loosing his job at the club.

"But we congratulate Villarreal. I think we deserved to win the game but the details define these ties. The way we started in Villarreal wasn't good enough."

Former Gunners' boss Unai Emery got revenge for his sacking after just 18 months as Arsene Wenger's successor by leading Villarreal to their first European final.

Emery has won this competition three times with Sevilla and also took Arsenal to the Europa League final in his only full season in charge at the Emirates.

He now stand a chance to win his fourth Europa League title having done so three times in a golden period with Sevilla.

"I'm very proud, Arsenal are a very good team but I think we deserved it," he said.

"We made a very serious match, we all helped each other, we defended very well and sometimes with the possession we controlled the match."

Looking ahead to the final he said: 

"It will be very difficult but we deserve to play this final and we will show our supporters our best performance again."

The Europa League final would go down three-days before the Champions League final at the 41,000 seating capacity Gdansk Stadium in Poland.

But the Polish authorities confirmed to UEFA that a capacity of 25% of the stadium or up to 9,500 spectators will be permitted due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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