Fernandes gave up penalty to help Rashford maintain Champions League goal run

about 2 months ago

Marcus Rashford scored a penalty after being handed the ball by Bruno Fernandes, who wanted to keep the forward's confidence high.

Bruno Fernandes gave up a penalty while on a hat-trick against Istanbul Basaksehir in order to help Marcus Rashford remain one of the Champions League's leading goalscorers this term.

Manchester United beat Basaksehir 4-1 at Old Trafford to remain in charge of Group H ahead of their final two matches against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig.

United need just one point from those two games to secure progress to the last 16 and they never looked in danger of being on the end of another upset on Tuesday.

Fernandes scored twice in the first 19 minutes – the first a scorching half-volley – and looked to have a golden chance to add a third just past the half-hour mark when Boli Bolingoli fouled Rashford in the area.

The Portugal international, United's usual penalty taker, initially held the ball but then turned to Rashford, who duly slotted in.

That was the England forward's fifth goal in the Champions League this season, with Erling Haaland – who scored a brace on Tuesday – the only player to have netted more (six), and Fernandes revealed he was trying to help his team-mate's cause.  

"Of course, every player wants a hat-trick, but after the game in the Premier League [against West Brom on Saturday] I told Rashford that he could take the next one," Fernandes told BT Sport.

"So, I remembered that and also he's one of the top scorers in the Champions League, so I think it will be important for him to keep going there and taking that confidence.

"But as I say, it doesn't matter who takes the penalty as long as the team scores. When the team scores, I score too."

Those five goals for Rashford have come from just four matches – he needed 18 games to score his first five in the competition.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to have no issue with Fernandes' decision to delegate, acknowledging United do have numerous players who are confident from the spot.

"Marcus is a very good penalty taker and Bruno is very confident," Solskjaer said. "If Bruno wants to give it to Marcus then why not?

"Anthony Martial took one against Leipzig too - why not share it around?"

The only sour notes for United from an otherwise encouraging performance were the injuries to Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, though Solskjaer stressed neither were serious problems and both could play against Southampton on Sunday.

"Hopefully they'll be ready for the weekend but we're not sure," he said. "It's back problems for Victor and Aaron had an ankle problem, so there was no point taking any more chances and risk more swelling."