Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes was at his creative best as Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign got off to a winning start.
The first aspect to note about Portugal’s match against Liechtenstein was that it was a major mismatch. The ninth team in the FIFA World Rankings vs the 198th.
But this was also exactly what Portugal needed after a miserable exit from World Cup 2022 in the quarter-finals against Morocco.
With new manager Roberto Martinez taking charge of his first match, a soft clash against minnows was the dream first fixture for Portugal to kick off a new era.
Bruno Fernandes stars
Even against a weaker opponent, top stars still need to have the right mentality to deliver. Bruno Fernandes stepped up to make his mark.
Fernandes created eight goalscoring chances as Portugal cantered to a 4-0 victory with three goals in the second half.
The Manchester United playmaker featured for 89 minutes, touching the ball 87 times.
Fernandes’ former United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo was on the scoresheet twice, netting a penalty and a free-kick.
Ronaldo is now up to a staggering 120 international goals, after explaining he is a ‘better man’ after coming to terms with his United exit.
Goal’s player ratings graded Fernandes’ performance a 8/10, while FotMob awarded him a 8.3 rating.
Fernandes fell short of getting on the scoresheet himself, landing just one of his three efforts on target. This was his 54th international appearance.
Unfortunately the game added more minutes to Fernandes’ clock this season. This was his 52nd game for club and country, with 44 for United and eight for Portugal.
But with this as Portugal’s first match under a new manager, it was one he was keen not to miss. Another fixture against 92nd ranked Luxembourg follows on Sunday.
Fernandes’ United teammate Diogo Dalot was an unused substitute, with Joao Cancelo selected at right wing-back in Martinez’s new system.