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News Every Day |

Bruno Fernandes handed Villarreal 20% advantage by picking Man Utd to take second penalty in shootout despite toss win

BRUNO FERNANDES gave Villarreal a huge advantage by making Manchester United go second in the Europa League final penalty shootout, according to an expert.

United recovered from a goal down in Gdansk to take the game to extra-time thanks to Edinson Cavani’s second-half strike.

Reuters
Bruno Fernandes gave Villarreal the edge by opting to go second in the Europa League penalty shootout[/caption]
EPA
David De Gea missed the decisive penalty with United always playing catch-up[/caption]

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Eventually the game went to penalties, with captain for the night Fernandes winning the coin toss.

The Portuguese playmaker opted to shoot second, with the first 21 penalties all converted.

David De Gea missed in sudden death as Villarreal were crowned champions – reducing Fernandes to tears.

But LSE professor and psychological studies expert Ignacio Palacios-Huerta revealed United were always up against it thanks to Fernandes’ decision.

He explained shooting second takes a mental toll on players handing the side shooting first up to a 20 per cent advantage.

Palacios-Huerta told Sportsmail: “I would think that most people in football know about, or at least have the right intuition, on this 60-40 advantage.

“It was shocking to see that Bruno decided to give that 20 per cent advantage to Villarreal.”

Palacios-Huerta has written a study on the subject called Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment.

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In the paper, the professor reveals he has proven shooting second has a ‘detrimental effect on performance’.

But boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quick to not blame De Gea for his miss, saying United should have killed the game off in normal time.

Solskjaer said: “You go through every scenario, of course, and [De Gea’s penalty record] had crossed my mind in the build-up to the game but we were confident in David and prepared.

“Anything can happen in a penalty shootout. I stuck with the keeper who played all of the game.

“I’ve got to say the penalty shootout was high quality, but we didn’t do enough in the 120 minutes to score more goals and that’s the disappointing bit.

“We had pressure, we had moments where we felt if we can just kick on a little bit now we can get a goal. But we just couldn’t.”

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