Yet when it came down to the goalkeepers, Geronimo Rulli kept out the Spaniard’s strike after converting emphatically into the top corner himself.
After what has been a gruelling season, United fell just short of winning their first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the final hurdle.
Fernandes had talked about using the Europa League as a launchpad for more trophies beyond this season.
He missed a glaring opportunity inside the box in the second half to put his side ahead but placed his shot wide of the mark.
Villareal took the lead in the first half when Gerard Moreno ghosted in on goal and fired home from a free-kick to the back post.
United responded well after the interval as Edinson Cavani struck an equaliser to give his team hope.
But after a gruelling 120 minutes of action the sides could barely be separated after 22 spot-kicks.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed