While Cristiano Ronaldo was dazzling everybody at Carrington in the beaming sunshine, Bruno Fernandes was starring for Portugal in Azerbaijan.
Fernandes started as Portugal clinched a convincing 3-0 win in the World Cup qualifier.
The Manchester United star provided the assist for Portugal’s opener, setting up City’s Bernardo Silva. Andre Silva and Diogo Jota then added two more.
Fernandes was the key man as Portugal controlled the game. He had more touches than any player on the pitch, with 110 in total.
The United midfielder used his share of possession wisely, creating more chances than any player on the pitch, five key passes altogether.
Fernandes also had two shots on target, and won two tackles. It was a full on 90 minutes as he helped Portugal dominate their lesser opponents.
This was the type of performance Fernandes needed. After a hat-trick on the first day of the season against Leeds, he was less impactful against Southampton and Wolves.
This was his best creative display of the season for club and country so far, registering his first assist, and creating more chances than in any other match.
That’s just what Fernandes needed as he prepares to return to Manchester. He will be full of confidence as he returns to join Ronaldo and co.
Why didn’t Ronaldo play?
Ronaldo picked up a booking after celebrating Portugal’s winner over Ireland last week.
This meant he was suspended for the Azerbaijan game, and he was released early, to join up with his new Manchester United teammates.
It was perfectly timed as the early time off enabled Ronaldo to see off the mandatory quarantine period for new overseas arrivals in the UK.
After being cleared to link up with his United teammates already, it seems to have worked out pretty well. Ronaldo is on course to start against Newcastle this coming weekend.
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