Manchester midfielder Bruno Fernandes will not be available for selection when the Red Devils travel to Spain to clash against Sevilla next week.
Heading into the first leg at Old Trafford, Fernandes needed to avoid a booking so as to be eligible to play at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
United got off to a flying start in the opening 45 minutes which saw Marcel Sabitzer grab a superb brace to put his side firmly in the driving seat.
United were largely in control but the first half was overshadowed by Fernandes’s booking.
The referee deemed that the Portuguese midfielder handled the ball just outside his own box.
A Sevilla player fired a ferocious shot and a diving Fernandes slid to block it in an effort to maintain United’s advantage.
It could be argued that the playmaker had nowhere to put his arms as the ball was struck from close range.
Bruno Fernandes will miss the second leg.
That is an absolute disgrace of a yellow card decision. What is he meant to do there?
United need to put this to bed tonight.
— Alex Turk (@AlexCTurk) April 13, 2023
The referee’s decision was made to look even worse by the fact that just minutes before dishing out a yellow to Fernandes, a blatant foul by Erik Lamela on Casemiro failed to be fully punished.
Lamela delved into a tackle and landed his studs on Casemiro who was left on the floor writhing in pain. A yellow was given before a lengthy VAR check.
The VAR official upheld the initial on-field decision and Lamela was allowed to continue playing.
Fernandes’s unavailability is undoubtedly a blow for Erik ten Hag, who will now have to name a midfield trio bereft of his tried and tested lieutenant.
A possible solution would be to play Christian Eriksen in the number 10 position – a role the Dane is more than familiar with, or Eriksen could play deep with Marcel Sabitzer continuing at number 10.