Manchester United’s meeting with Club Brugge this evening saw the Red Devils continue to impress, with January signing Bruno Fernandes having played a starring role once again.
United roll on
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men welcomed Belgian giants Brugge to Old Trafford a short time ago.
The matchup came as the 2nd of 2 Europa League last-32 meetings between the clubs.
Last week’s opener saw a tight affair eventually end all square, after Anthony Martial cancelled out Emmanuel Bonaventure’s early strike.
Tonight’s return-leg, though, proved far more one-sided.
The clash turned on an early moment of madness from Brugge defender Simon Deli, as the Ivorian bafllingly opted to reach out and save a goalbound Daniel James effort with his hand.
The stopper was rightly given his marching orders on the back of a VAR check, before Bruno Fernandes stepped up to coolly slot home the ensuing spot-kick.
And it was 2-0 less than 10 minutes later, as Odion Ighalo got off the mark in United’s colours.
A fine sweeping move from left to right eventually saw Juan Mata pull back for the Nigerian to slot home into an empty net from close range.
Scott McTominay then went on to put the result beyond any doubt shortly before the interval, caressing home a superb side-footed finish from the edge of the box.
And a brace from the ever-improving Fred saw some gloss added to the scoreline late on, as United booked their spot in the Europa League’s last-16 in style.
Evidently, based on the scoreline, a number of the Red Devils’ stars impressed over the course of the 90 minutes this evening.
Scott McTominay looked excellent in his return to starting duties, with the likes of Odion Ighalo, Juan Mata and in particular Fred having also contributed in a major way.
However, no player was more crucial to United’s latest win than January arrival Bruno Fernandes.
Portuguese international Fernandes bagged himself the opener to get the ball rolling for the hosts, sending Simon Mignolet the wrong way from the spot to make it 2 goals in his last 2 appearances.
However, the 25-year-old’s contribution runs so much deeper than his ability to find the net.
Fernandes was at the heart of everything good in the Red Devils’ attacking play during his 65 minutes on the pitch versus Brugge, lighting up Old Trafford with pinpoint passing, superb movement, and above all, a killer ball.
The former Sporting man’s wonderful drop of the shoulder and inch-perfect dinked delivery to Juan Mata in the buildup to United’s 2nd of the night showcased, in a nutshell, everything that had been missing from the club’s midfield over the first-half of the campaign.
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Another facet of Fernandes’ game which goes somewhat under the radar is his work-rate, with the 25-year-old’s attitude alongside Fred and McTominay having really set the tone early on this evening.
It was, all told, a complete midfield performance.
He may only be 5 games deep into his career in Manchester, and tonight’s outing may have only come against Club Brugge, but, based on all of the early signs, Fernandes looks set to prove an inspired piece of business on the part of the Red Devils.