Manchester United suffered a major blow to their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after being held to a 3-3 draw away to Galatasaray on Wednesday night.
While United were quick to establish a two-goal lead, poor goalkeeping allowed Galatasaray to reduce the deficit.
Even as United restored their two-goal cushion to go 3-1 up, continued vulnerabilities at the back allowed the Turkish club to score twice in the second half to walk away with a point from the match.
Although there was plenty to criticise about the team’s erratic performance, captain Bruno Fernandes played a stellar role to ensure that the visitors came close to sealing a memorable win in Istanbul.
Getting 60 touches on the ball, Fernandes was undoubtedly the United midfielder who showed the most involvement in his team’s build-up play.
Completing 28 of his 41 attempted passes, Fernandes’ 68% passing accuracy left a lot to be desired, although it must be noted that many of his passes were challenging given his desire to get the ball up the field to United’s front line.
Notably, Fernandes managed to make three key passes, leading both teams in this statistic.
Two out of five crosses and four out of 10 long balls were completed, and while accuracy may have been lacking, the United playmaker at least proved his desire to drive United’s attack forward and test the opponents’ defence.
Fernandes won four of his seven ground duels and one of two aerial duels; not the best from the United star but his effort cannot be faulted.
He also lost possession 19 times; the most of any player from either team.
Still, the Portuguese playmaker managed to step up when it counted, playing a critical pass to Alejandro Garnacho to hand United an early lead.
He then scored a sublime goal from distance to hand United a two-goal cushion after just 18 minutes of play.
Fernandes also came close to scoring in the second half off a rapid counter-attack as he took another long-range shot, however, this time his shot hit the upright.
While Fernandes’ statistics may not all make for pleasant reading, his goal, assist, and many attempts to set up his teammates with crucial goalscoring opportunities shows that he continues to be United’s pillar of creativity.
(Stats via Sofascore)