Bruno Fernandes’ valiant efforts not enough as Portugal suffer defeat in 2-1 loss vs. Croatia

Bruno Fernandes’ valiant efforts not enough as Portugal suffer defeat in 2-1 loss vs. Croatia

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes played 70 minutes for Portugal as they suffered a 2-1 loss against Croatia in a friendly match ahead of Euro 2024.

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric broke the deadlock just eight minutes into proceedings when he converted from the penalty spot.

The match was pretty even for most parts, with both teams testing the opponent’s goalkeeper. Both Diogo Costa and Dominik Livakovic between the sticks had to make heroic saves.

Liverpool striker Diogo Jota restored parity just three minutes after the break. He was in the right place at the right time to tap in a brilliant cross across goal. However, Croatia were not deterred and soon got their reward.

Costa made a brilliant save to keep out a powerful shot but failed to bring the ball under his spell. He could only parry it onto the path of Ante Budimir, who was all too happy to head it in from close range.

During the time he was on the pitch, Fernandes had 67 touches of the ball and successfully delivered 43 of the 49 passes he attempted, managing an individual pass completion rate of 88%. One of his key passes was a key pass.

The 29-year-old, who started in a midfield trio also consisting of Joao Palhinha and Vitinha, tried to find a Portugal teammate with two crosses and six long balls. Fernandes successfully connected with four of the long balls he pinged. None of his crosses came off.

The United skipper had just one shot to his name but it was off-target and didn’t really challenge Livakovic.

Fernandes completed the one dribble he embarked on and won four of the six ground duels he delved into. His other defensive contributions include making one clearance and putting in three times as many tackles. He also blocked two shots.

The playmaker lined up alongside United teammate Diogo Dalot, who was taken off at half-time and replaced by Nelson Semedo.

Dalot made just one tackle and won half of his contests on the ground. He delivered two of the seven crosses he made and also the one long ball he tried.

The right-back touched the ball on 37 occasions.

(Stats obtained from Sofascore)

Unfortunately for Fernandes and Dalot, their efforts were not enough. They will however be looking to make amends when the Selecao face Ireland on Tuesday in yet another friendly encounter before they finally kickstart their Euro 2024 campaign.

Want to be the first to hear breaking Man United news? For carefully selected, crucial updates, join our WhatsApp channel: