Bruno Fernandes To Captain United Against PSG In Champions League Opener

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, northeast England on October 17, 2020.
Alex Pantling / POOL / AF

 

Harry Maguire did not travel with the Manchester United squad for Tuesday’s Champions League Group H opener away to Paris Saint-Germain as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed Bruno Fernandes will captain the visitors in the French capital.

“We’re a little bit depleted but we’ve got more than enough players,” said Solskjaer, who is without Maguire, Mason Greenwood, Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard, and new signing Edinson Cavani for the game.

“We hope that the players won’t be away for too long. Edinson needs a few more days training before maybe we can think about the weekend, hopefully, Harry can and Mason as well but we’re not sure about that,” added the United manager of the players’ prospects of being back to face Chelsea on Saturday.

Fernandes, who scored in the 4-1 weekend win at Newcastle United, described being given the captain’s armband in Maguire’s absence as “an honour, an important achievement”.

United are returning to the Champions League this season after missing out in the last campaign.

However, Tuesday’s clash brings back memories of the sides’ encounter in the last 16 in 2018/19, when Solskjaer’s team won thanks to a dramatic late penalty in the second leg at the Parc des Princes.

The Norwegian said: “That’s history for us, it’s in the past, so great history, great game but it has no impact whatsoever on this game.

“We know we’re a different team, they are a different team, it’s a different stage of the competition, it’s of course also without fans so it’s going to be a different game.”

-AFP

Fernandes Penalty Lifts Man Utd Past Dogged Copenhagen

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes reacts after an injury during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP)

 

Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in extra time as Manchester United scraped past FC Copenhagen 1-0 on Monday in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, reshaped into an eight-team straight knockout tournament in Germany due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portugal international notched his competition-best seventh goal of the season as United set up a semi-final clash against Sevilla or Wolves, joining Inter Milan in the last four following the Italian side’s 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Dusseldorf.

“Third time this season we’ve been to the semis, every competition we’ve been in. Delighted we’ve gone through, we deserved to win tonight,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport.

“Their keeper was fantastic, unbelievable. We hit the post a few times, there were a couple of VAR decisions against us. It could have been one of those nights that you end up with penalty shoot outs. They made it hard for us.”

 

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) shakes hands with FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca, next to Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP)

All games from the quarter-finals onwards in this season’s Europa League are being played behind closed doors as one-off ties across four venues — Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen — in a unique format following a five-month interruption.

Solskjaer recalled Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial but the 2017 competition winners struggled early, and 18-year-old Copenhagen forward Mohamed Daramy was twice involved as the Danish underdogs threatened a creaking United backline.

Eric Bailly intervened just as Daramy attempted to stab home a bouncing cross, and the Ivorian defender was then played into trouble by Fred with Jens Stage’s subsequent effort blocked.

Rashford finally tested Karl-Johan Johnsson just before the interval with a long-range shot — the first of a multitude of saves for Copenhagen’s outstanding Swedish goalkeeper.

Greenwood looked to have put United ahead as he drilled in via the far post moments later only for the teenager to be ruled offside following a VAR review.

He again went close early in the second half when he slammed against the upright, with Fernandes promptly smacking the opposite post with a dipping 20-yard drive.

The Portugal international, who scored five times in the group stage with Sporting, stung the palms of Johnsson with another hit from distance — shortly after Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a desperation block to thwart Bryan Oviedo after a mesmerising dribble from Rasmus Falk.

Johnsson outstanding in goal

Appearing in their first European quarter-final, and the first Danish club to reach this stage since 1997, Copenhagen continued to frustrate United as they sought a repeat of their 1-0 win when the clubs last met in the Champions League group stage in 2006.

 

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes scores a penalty during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP)

Martial nearly won the game in normal time but again a sprawling Johnsson tipped away his curling attempt that appeared destined for the top corner.

The France striker was once more repelled by Johnsson at the start of extra time, but Martial won a penalty as United kept the attack alive and the striker was upended by Andreas Bjelland.

Fernandes blasted home from the spot on 95 minutes but Solskjaer’s team were left to sweat until the end as Johnsson pulled off sensational stops from the Portuguese and substitute Juan Mata, with Victor Lindelof the third United player to strike the post.

United though ultimately ensured their 2019-20 campaign will extend into a second year, having started the season 365 days ago with a 4-0 Premier League win over Chelsea. Awaiting them on Sunday will be Sevilla — who have won the Europa League and its precursor, the UEFA Cup, a record five times — or domestic rivals Wolves.

Former United striker Romelu Lukaku grabbed the decisive goal for Antonio Conte’s Inter against Leverkusen as the Serie A runners-up moved a step closer to adding to their titles from 1991, 1994 and 1998.

Inter struck first as Nicolo Barella guided in from the edge of the area on 15 minutes, with Lukaku bundling in a second six minutes later.

Kai Havertz reduced the deficit in possibly his final game for Leverkusen on 25 minutes after exchanging passes with fellow Germany international Kevin Volland, but Inter held on to seal their place against Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel in next week’s semi-final.

“The defence did a tremendous job again tonight. We are growing but we have to learn to kill games off when we have the chances to do it, and we didn’t tonight,” said Lukaku.

“Now we have time to recover physically and prepare for another great game. We will have to be ready.”

 

 

-AFP

Europa League: Bruno Fernandes’ Late Penalty Sends Man United To Semi-Final

solskjaer-man-united
Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (C), FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca and Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes react at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020.
WOLFGANG RATTAY / AFP / POOL

 

 

Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in extra time as Manchester United scraped past FC Copenhagen 1-0 on Monday in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, reshaped into an eight-team straight knockout tournament in Germany due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portugal international notched his competition-best seventh goal of the season as United set up a semi-final clash against Sevilla or Wolves, joining Inter Milan in the last four following the Italian side’s 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Dusseldorf.

“Third time this season we’ve been to the semis, every competition we’ve been in. Delighted we’ve gone through, we deserved to win tonight,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport.

“Their keeper was fantastic, unbelievable. We hit the post a few times, there were a couple of VAR decisions against us. It could have been one of those nights that you end up with penalty shoot outs. They made it hard for us.”

All games from the quarter-finals onwards in this season’s Europa League are being played behind closed doors as one-off ties across four venues — Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen — in a unique format following a five-month interruption.

Solskjaer recalled Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial but the 2017 competition winners struggled early, and 18-year-old Copenhagen forward Mohamed Daramy was twice involved as the Danish underdogs threatened a creaking United backline.

Eric Bailly intervened just as Daramy attempted to stab home a bouncing cross, and the Ivorian defender was then played into trouble by Fred with Jens Stage’s subsequent effort blocked.

Rashford finally tested Karl-Johan Johnsson just before the interval with a long-range shot — the first of a multitude of saves for Copenhagen’s outstanding Swedish goalkeeper.

Greenwood looked to have put United ahead as he drilled in via the far post moments later only for the teenager to be ruled offside following a VAR review.

He again went close early in the second half when he slammed against the upright, with Fernandes promptly smacking the opposite post with a dipping 20-yard drive.

The Portugal international, who scored five times in the group stage with Sporting, stung the palms of Johnsson with another hit from distance — shortly after Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a desperation block to thwart Bryan Oviedo after a mesmerising dribble from Rasmus Falk.

– Johnsson outstanding in goal –

Appearing in their first European quarter-final, and the first Danish club to reach this stage since 1997, Copenhagen continued to frustrate United as they sought a repeat of their 1-0 win when the clubs last met in the Champions League group stage in 2006.

Martial nearly won the game in normal time but again a sprawling Johnsson tipped away his curling attempt that appeared destined for the top corner.

The France striker was once more repelled by Johnsson at the start of extra time, but Martial won a penalty as United kept the attack alive and the striker was upended by Andreas Bjelland.

Fernandes blasted home from the spot on 95 minutes but Solskjaer’s team were left to sweat until the end as Johnsson pulled off sensational stops from the Portuguese and substitute Juan Mata, with Victor Lindelof the third United player to strike the post.

United though ultimately ensured their 2019-20 campaign will extend into a second year, having started the season 365 days ago with a 4-0 Premier League win over Chelsea. Awaiting them on Sunday will be Sevilla — who have won the Europa League and its precursor, the UEFA Cup, a record five times — or domestic rivals Wolves.

Former United striker Romelu Lukaku grabbed the decisive goal for Antonio Conte’s Inter against Leverkusen as the Serie A runners-up moved a step closer to adding to their titles from 1991, 1994 and 1998.

Inter struck first as Nicolo Barella guided in from the edge of the area on 15 minutes, with Lukaku bundling in a second six minutes later.

Kai Havertz reduced the deficit in possibly his final game for Leverkusen on 25 minutes after exchanging passes with fellow Germany international Kevin Volland, but Inter held on to seal their place against Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel in next week’s semi-final.

“The defence did a tremendous job again tonight. We are growing but we have to learn to kill games off when we have the chances to do it, and we didn’t tonight,” said Lukaku.

“Now we have time to recover physically and prepare for another great game. We will have to be ready.”

AFP

Fernandes Nets Brace As Man Utd Beat Brighton

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020. Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP
Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020. Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP

 

Bruno Fernandes boosted Manchester United’s bid to qualify for the Champions League as his brace inspired an impressive 3-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday.

Cajoled by the dazzling Fernandes, United produced one of their best performances of the season at the Amex Stadium.

Mason Greenwood opened the scoring early in the first half and Fernandes doubled the lead before the interval.

Fernandes netted again after half-time with a fine volley as United climbed above Wolves on goal difference to take fifth place in the Premier League.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who play their game in hand at West Ham on Wednesday.

With fifth place securing qualification for the Champions League if second-placed Manchester City’s European ban is upheld, United are in a strong position to return to the continent’s elite club competition.

If they make it, United will owe a huge debt of gratitude to Fernandes, who has scored six goals since arriving from Sporting Lisbon in January.

The Portugal midfielder’s role in revitalising United cannot be understated.

They were mired in a major slump before Fernandes’ signing, but are now on a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions, including three successive wins.

United are also looking more solid at the back with eight clean sheets in their last 13 league matches.

With a run-in that includes games against Bournemouth, Aston Villa and West Ham, Solskjaer’s men could enjoy a memorable conclusion to the campaign as they also chase success in the FA Cup and Europa League.

Brighton had taken four points from two games since the restart, easing their relegation fears, but this defeat means they aren’t completely safe yet.

Complete control

Solskjaer made eight changes to the side that beat Norwich in the FA Cup on Saturday and his refreshed line-up turned on the style.

Harry Maguire led United’s charge with a long pass to Paul Pogba, who rolled it into the path of Fernandes for a fierce drive that cannoned back off the post.

Solskjaer this week warned United’s strikers they must improve if they want to stay in the team.

“If you think we won’t look for players to replace you, you’re in the wrong place,” he said.

It was a message that Greenwood had clearly taken to heart as the 18-year-old produced a fine strike to open the scoring in the 16th minute.

Cutting in from the right, Greenwood froze Lewis Dunk with a nimble step-over and drilled a low shot past Brighton keeper Mat Ryan at his near post.

Greenwood’s 13th goal of the season in all competitions was the signal for United to take complete control.

Maguire almost made it two with a header that looped narrowly wide and in the 29th minute Brighton cracked again.

Luke Shaw’s run unhinged the Albion defence and Pogba worked the ball back to Fernandes, whose shot deflected off Alexis Mac Allister and squirmed past Ryan from the edge of the area.

There was frustration for Brighton as they claimed Shaw was offside and the ball had been taken out of play in the build-up to the goal.

Neither appeal was accepted and Fernandes was able to celebrate his latest crucial contribution.

Fernandes wasn’t finished yet and he put the game out of Brighton’s reach at the climax of a swaggering United counter in the 50th minute.

Nemanja Matic’s cross-field pass sent Greenwood sprinting away down the left and the teenager unfurled a perfect cross for Fernandes to volley past Ryan from 12 yards.

 

AFP

Man United Beat Watford, Climb To Fifth In Premier League

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (R) challenges Watford’s English midfielder Will Hughes (L) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 23, 2020.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Bruno Fernandes opened his goalscoring account at Manchester United on Sunday as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side climbed to fifth place in the Premier League table with a 3-0 win against lowly Watford.

United have struggled for consistency all season but the victory at Old Trafford lifts them to 41 points, just three behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Midfielder Fernandes, bought by Solskjaer last month to add creativity and drive to United’s midfield, scored from the penalty spot shortly before half-time and Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood also found the net.

While United are looking upwards, Nigel Pearson’s Watford are in deep trouble, just one place off the bottom of the table after taking just two points from their past five games.

As it stands, fifth place could be enough to earn a Champions League spot because second-placed Manchester City have been banned from Europe’s elite competition for two seasons, pending an appeal.

United, who beat top-four rivals Chelsea on Monday, took the lead three minutes before the interval with their first Premier League goal at Old Trafford since January 11.

Ben Foster pulled down Fernandes in the box and Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot. The Portuguese midfielder picked himself up to convert the penalty.

Watford thought they were level shortly after half-time only to see Troy Deeney’s goal ruled out by VAR for a handball by Craig Dawson.

The home side doubled their lead just before the hour mark. Foster saved Martial’s initial shot but the ball came back to the French forward and he lofted the ball over the head of the goalkeeper and into the net from a tight angle.

Greenwood found some space and fired home via the crossbar to put United 3-0 up with 15 minutes remaining.

Old Trafford had earlier fallen silent to remember Harry Gregg, a hero of the Munich air disaster in 1958, who died last week.

Liverpool are Premier League champions in all but name while Manchester City are firmly entrenched in second place and third-placed Leicester have a cushion despite recent wobbles.

But just 10 points covers nine clubs from Chelsea in fourth place all the way down to Southampton in 12th.

Despite their mini-revival, United have a tough run of fixtures coming up, with games against Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham and Sheffield United.

AFP

Comparing Fernandes To Ronaldo Unfair, Says Solskjaer

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday that it would be unfair to compare new signing Bruno Fernandes to Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 25-year-old followed the path first made famous by five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo in 2003 when he joined United from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

Solskjaer said that Fernandes would play a part in Saturday’s game against Wolves at Old Trafford, but warned against comparing him to his illustrious compatriot.

“Cristiano is unique so to compare the boy to him is not fair. Obviously we hope Bruno is going to come and have a fantastic career at Manchester United,” he said.

“He is another piece in the jigsaw and I am sure he is going to give us that X-factor that we have been missing at times this season.”

Fernandes said after signing that his “love of Manchester United” started while watching Ronaldo play for the club.

United were finally able to land Fernandes after chasing him for several months and Solskjaer says the Portugal international reminds him of former teammate Paul Scholes with his ability to make goalscoring runs from deep and provide assists.

Fernandes, who will wear Scholes’ old number 18 shirt, scored eight goals and set up six others for Sporting in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season.

“Bruno is a goalscoring and assisting midfield player, a little bit like Paul Scholes,” Solskjaer added.

“He can strike a ball fantastically and he’s got wonderful technique. He will also get assists from set plays and with his range of passing.”

Scholes won 11 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and a host of other medals during two spells with United across the Alex Ferguson era.

“He’s a similar type to Scholes, fiery as well, with the same number on his shirt,” Solskjaer said.

“Bruno can do absolutely everything. He can play as one of three in midfield, as a number 10, he can play in off the wing, he can play in a diamond. But we will give him the time to find his best position.

“Of course we bring him in to play and we believe in him. But we are going to give him time to settle down in a new country and a new league with new teammates.”

Fernandes has arrived with United fifth in the Premier League, six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who they play in their first game back after the winter break.

United are also through to the Europa League last 32 against Club Brugge and are still in the FA Cup.

Now the transfer window is shut, Solskjaer is ready to focus on the last three months as he tries to salvage a troubled season.

“I’m happy and confident that these players will keep improving. You cannot control results but of course, we are going to fight for a higher position in the league and trophies in the cups,” he said.

AFP

Man United Agree Deal To Sign Bruno Fernandes

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 03, 2019 Sporting’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates after scoring a goal during the Portuguese league football match between Sporting CP and Portimonense SC at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon. Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Portuguese international midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon, the Premier League club announced on January 29, 2020.
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

 

Manchester United have agreed on a deal worth up to 80 million euros (£67 million, $88 million) to sign Portuguese international midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

“Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached an agreement with Sporting Clube de Portugal for the transfer of Bruno Fernandes. The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms,” United said in a statement.

Fernandes, 25, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for many months, but United were previously unwilling to meet Sporting’s valuation.

Sporting confirmed the deal is worth an initial fee of 55 million euros with another 25 million euros in performance-related add-ons.

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Thanks, captain,” Sporting tweeted alongside a video of some of Fernandes’s finest moments for the club.

United are badly in need of midfield reinforcements due to long-term injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.

Fernandes has scored 63 goals in 137 appearances for Sporting since returning to his homeland after spells with Udinese and Sampdoria in Italy.

He was also part of the Portugal side that won the inaugural Nations League in June and has scored twice in 19 international caps.

There had been mounting pressure on United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to land at least one marquee name in the remainder of the transfer window.

Woodward, who has overseen the club’s poor recruitment over the past seven years, had been the target of the fans’ anger in a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley last week that left the Red Devils still six points adrift of the Premier League top four in fifth.

Police have launched an investigation into an attack on Woodward’s Cheshire home on Tuesday night when a hooded group targeted the property with flares and graffiti.

United’s chances of a top-four finish will depend greatly on how they fare in their next two league games at home to Wolves on Saturday and then away to fourth-placed Chelsea on February 17.

Fernandes is expected to watch United in action when they travel to Manchester City in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final on Wednesday, trailing 3-1 from the first leg.

AFP