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Bruno watch – How reported Man Utd target Fernandes fared in possible Sporting farewell

Bruno Fernandes toiled in what may be his last match for Sporting, as the reported Manchester United target was outshone by Benfica's Rafa.

Omnisport
NEWS
Modified 18 Jan 2020, 05:24 IST
Bruno Fernandes in action for Sporting

Bruno Fernandes is reportedly on the verge of a transfer to Manchester United, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally seems set to bolster his midfield.

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Portugal international Fernandes was heavily linked with both United and Tottenham in the close season, though stayed at Sporting, signing a new deal at the club in November.

The new contract reportedly set the 25-year-old's buy out clause at €100million, though the fee rumoured to have been agreed between United and Sporting is closer to £50m (€58.6m).

Reports on Friday suggested United did not want Fernandes to feature in the Lisbon derby against Benfica, but Sporting and the player wanted to give him the chance to bid farewell to the club's supporters in their biggest home match of the season.

But, amid all of the speculation, just how did the playmaker fare on the pitch as Rafa Silva's late double handed the bragging rights to Benfica?

5th minute – It was a rather anonymous start for Fernandes, who stalled a promising move from Sporting when he intercepted a heavy touch from team-mate Rafael Camacho, despite being stood in an offside position.

13th minute – This will certainly have got United fans excited! From inside Sporting's half, the midfielder – who has recorded 13 assists in all competitions this season – played a superbly weighted pass over the top of Benfica's defence, straight into the path of Camacho. The winger got a shot off, but it flashed wide of the right-hand upright.

38th minute – In what quickly became a scrappy encounter, Fernandes struggled to stamp his quality on proceedings again until seven minutes before half-time, when he picked out Yannick Bolasie with a pass. The Everton loanee was unable to beat Odisseas Vlachodimos, though.

43rd minute – The build up to this match was all about Fernandes and it seems Benfica's players were in no mood to let it be the Bruno show. He was clattered into by Franco Cervi as the visitors started to give their rivals' captain some rough treatment.

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46th to 50th minute – Friday's encounter had to be paused for five minutes, as a section of Sporting fans threw smoke bombs onto the pitch and set fires in the stands. Fortunately, the stewards got them under control as quickly as possible.

58th minute – Once the match had restarted, Benfica began targeting Fernandes once more, with Chiquinho receiving a booking for a late lunge which left Sporting's skipper needing treatment on his ankle.

66th minute – Fernandes also proved his worth from set-pieces, with his cross from a corner finding Idrissa Doumbia, who could not direct his header on target.

67th minute – With a point to prove, Fernandes almost picked out Luiz Phellype with an incredible diagonal from far out on the right flank. Unfortunately for Sporting, Vlachodimos got there first.

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80th minute – Fernandes can only watch on as Sporting's defence fail to clear their lines not once, but twice, with Benfica substitute Rafa on hand to put the Primeira Liga leaders ahead, though the goal only stood after a long check with VAR.

97th minute – In the seventh minute of 10 added on due to the earlier disruption, Fernandes is forced deep in an attempt to get Sporting on the front foot, but he is quickly crowded out, with his only option a pass out wide to Marcos Acuna.

99th minute – Game over, and is that goodbye Fernandes? Rafa steals the show – and the headlines – of this Lisbon derby, setting himself brilliantly with an expert first touch from Haris Seferovic's pass, before prodding a fantastic finish beyond Luis Maximiano. 

Full-time – The cameras come up close to Fernandes, though he betrays little emotion as he shakes hands with the Benfica players, before heading for the tunnel with his captain's armband unfastened.

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Published 18 Jan 2020, 05:24 IST