Fernandes nets a brace as Portugal progress

Monday 28 November 2022 21:40

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes scored both goals for Portugal as they beat Uruguay 2-0 to secure their qualification to the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup.

Our no.8 was in superb form as he netted his match-winning brace, firstly opening the scoring after 54 minutes, when his looping cross narrowly evaded the head of former Reds team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo to find the back of the net.

With the game teetering on a knife edge in injury time, Fernandes forced a penalty when he superbly knocked the ball through the legs of Jose Maria Gimenez and the Atletico Madrid man handled it as he fell to the ground.

After a VAR check, Alireza Faghani awarded a spot-kick and Bruno confidently stepped up to take it himself, firing past Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet and ensuring Portugal's progression in the competition.

Fernandes's two goals follow his pair of assists in the opening game, when the Navegadores saw off Ghana 3-2 with Ronaldo, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao all finding the net.

That makes him the first Portugal player to register that combination of goal involvements since 1966, when Jose Augusto and Jose Torres both achieved it in a side featuring the iconic forward Eusebio.

With the game against Uruguay being a cagey one to begin with, the South Americans squandered a huge chance to take the lead during the opening 45 minutes. Spurs midfielder Rodrigo Bentacur latched onto a smart pass from Matico Vecino but was denied a breakthrough goal by Porto shot-stopper Diogo Costa who made a solid save.

United winger Facundo Pellistri looked to spark some attacking impetus following his introduction in the second period, but only Luis Suarez and Maxi Gomez went close to causing Fernando Santos' men any real danger across the 90 minutes.

Fernandes celebrates his opening goal with former United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Now preparing to face South Korea in their final Group H encounter on Friday afternoon, Portugal will hope to secure top spot in the group, as they aim to clinch a more favourable tie in the next round.

If they do finish first, they would be looking at a last-16 clash with the Group G runners up - Switzerland, Cameroon or Serbia.

An unused substitute against Uruguay, Diogo Dalot will be hoping to secure his first World Cup minutes on the pitch in either the concluding group game or the first knockout tie.