Manchester United attacker Bruno Fernandes delivered a stunning performance for Portugal in their World Cup play-off final against North Macedonia last night.
The 2016 European champions were massive favourites to beat their opposition, but they had to dig deep as Blagoja Milevski’s side showed good defensive resolve.
Portugal capitalised on two key moments on the counter-attack. A superb tackle from Pepe in his own half lead to the opening goal. Cristiano Ronaldo put the ball on the plate for Fernandes to tap home in the 32nd minute.
Shortly after the hour mark, Fernando Santos’ men made it 2-0 in their favour. A Diogo Jota cross into the box was converted into the back of the net by Fernandes with a delightful side-foot half-volley.
The 2-0 victory ensured Portugal’s berth in the World Cup finals in Qatar this winter. Fernandes was undoubtedly the man of the match, scoring the seventh and eighth goals of his international career.
The 27-year-old ended the game with five shots with three on target. He had 86 touches while creating four key chances. The performance should keep him in good stead for the Red Devils’ season run-in.
United are currently languishing four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have a game in hand. They may need to potentially win all of their remaining nine matches to secure a Champions League spot.
Fernandes’ form has been largely inconsistent since the turn of the year, but the Portuguese will be instrumental from the number 10 role as United seek to close the gap on the north London side in the coming weeks.
The first of their nine remaining games will be against Leicester City this weekend. On paper, United seem favourites, but the Midlands outfit have beaten them in the previous three meetings in all competitions.
Stats from SofaScore.com
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