Bruno Fernandes further endeared himself to Manchester United fans in their Champions League clash with Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday night – but it wasn’t because of his goalscoring exploits. United ran out 4-1 winners in their Group E match with the Turkish giants, which saw them avenge the 2-1 loss they suffered in Istanbul a three weeks ago.
As has been the case on numerous occasions during his ten months at Old Trafford, Fernandes was the star of the show for the Red Devils.
The Portuguese bagged a first-half brace in United’s rout of the Turkish champions, the first of which was a stunning half-volley from just outside the box.
But it was his actions 15 minutes later which really warmed the hearts of United fans.
Fernandes showcased his team mentality in the 34th minute when he relinquished the opportunity to bag a hat-trick from the penalty spot, handing the spot-kick over to Marcus Rashford.
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The England international made no mistake from 12 yards out, firing United into a three-goal Leed.
Fernandes’ act of kindness thrilled many of the Old Trafford faithful, some of whom paid close attention to his demeanour before handing Rashford the opportunity to open his account for the night.
“I think this is what defies being a ‘born leader’ for me,” one United fan said. “Bruno is currently in the form of his life. That penalty was his to take as it always is and then he goes and gives it to Rashy.”
“Bruno is pure class,” another said. “The team scoring is more important than a hat trick. What a winner. That’s the mentality we had been lacking. Glory glory.”
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“As he said, it’s not about personal records,” another Red Devil supporter said. “It’s the team that should win. Can’t love this guy more.”
Fernandes discussed his act of kindness during his post-match interview, insisting he didn’t give Rashford the spot-kick because he was feeling charitable.
“No, that wasn’t the point,” the former Sporting Lisbon man said.
“Every player wants to do a hat-trick, you know, but after the game in the Premier League [against West Brom] I told Rashy the next one he will take so I remembered that.
“And also because Rashy is one of the top scorers in the Champions League I think it will be important for him to keep going there and take on that confidence.
“As I said, it doesn’t matter who takes the penalty, the most important thing is scoring and the team scores. When the team scores, I score.”
Manchester United will be back in action on Sunday afternoon, travelling to St Mary’s to take on Southampton.