VILLAREAL football team came within a hair’s breadth of culminating their best season in history with a second European trophy last night (Wednesday August 11) – but it was not to be.
The ‘Yellow Submarine’ faced Champion’s League winners Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast after conquering the Europa League against Manchester United at the end of May.
And, in a repeat scenario as that historic victory, last night’s match was decided by the penalties – although on this occasion, the result was the exact opposite.
Valencia’s Manises Airport was a sea of yellow and a cacophony of football chants yesterday, as hundreds of fans boarded flights to London determined to show their support and have a good time irrespective of the result.
The blues proved superior to the yellows during most of the first half, with Hakim Ziyech putting the English side ahead in the 26th minute and maintaining the advantage until the 72nd minute of the second half, when Gerard Moreno equalised to the joy of more than 1,200 groguet fans who had travelled from Castellon for the occasion.
Before the game went into extra time and eventually to penalties, Villareal were repeatedly denied glory as first Alberto Moreno and then Gerard hit the crossbar and the post, respectively.
Finally, the Yellow Submarine was sunk by just one penalty, with the London club emerging victorious by six bullseyes to five.
But far from lamenting their luck, this Villareal squad led by Unai Emery can hold its head up very high, proving that sometimes passion and effort can match and even beat big stars and huge budgets.
This is the first time in the club’s history that Villareal has won a European trophy, not to mention coming so close to lifting a second just months later.
Enhorabona i endavant! (Congratulations and onwards!)