Despite enduring pain, punishment, aimless days, and listless nights, as well as facing indignities and disgraces, Bruno was always there. Bruno, with his exceptional talent and knack for causing outrage. Bruno, with all his highs and lows. Bruno, who served as both a target for anger and the core of dysfunction, the chaos and the one who could bring peace to it. And, to be fair, the same man who would sometimes run around for 90 minutes, pretending to have no involvement in the chaos.
Bruno was consistently present, despite the feeling that his presence may not have had a significant impact. Despite some opposition, he remained a constant figure. The game was lacking in clear opportunities, with Fulham having the majority of shots and creativity in the attacking third, as well as winning more crucial challenges. However, throughout it all, Bruno Fernandes remained a central figure. He was the game’s untrustworthy storyteller, its pivotal point, able to transform a mundane trip along the M6 into a lively celebration through song.
Fernandes was not the sole reason for winning this game, but it seemed appropriate that he would make the defining move. Despite his flaws, he has consistently been the driving force behind this troubled football club – imperfect yet genuine. His skillful shot in the 91st minute determined the outcome of a match that could have easily ended in a goalless draw.
Regarding Fulham, they likely would have emerged victorious if they had a capable striker. Rodrigo Muniz, who made his first league start of the season, was forced to leave the game due to injury, leaving a noticeable void where Aleksandar Mitrovic used to stand. Despite scoring opportunities for Harry Wilson and João Palhinha, as well as a strong performance from Willian and Alex Iwobi in midfield, the deciding factor came down to killer instinct. Unfortunately, Fulham still lack this crucial element, while United, despite their shortcomings, were able to tap into their own occasionally.
There was a debate that they should have been in the lead much earlier before Fernandes’s sudden burst of success. An initial goal by Scott McTominay was disallowed due to an offside call against Harry Maguire, who attempted to reach the ball but did not make contact. Did Maguire have an impact on the play? Does Maguire ever truly have an impact on the play? After some time of deep thought, John Brooks nullified the goal and the cautious atmosphere of the game was established.
United were primarily focused on defending, while Wilson had an exceptional performance on the right side. Palhinha, who is likely worth £100 million now, was the standout midfielder on the field. Højland and Ream engaged in a fierce battle reminiscent of something out of the Marvel Comic Universe. Dalot made a crucial clearance with a well-stretched effort. Onana made an excellent save against Wilson and a more routine one against Palhinha. Antony seemed to just be present without making much of an impact.
However, towards the end of the game, Fulham appeared to struggle with finding new strategies. Facundo Pellistri substituted for Antony and immediately brought a sense of directness to the right side. It was Pellistri’s speed that led to the goal, as he chased down Antonee Robinson and then Palhinha, who made a rushed clearance straight to Fernandes. Fernandes received the ball from Pellistri, took a moment to assess, and scored with a slight deflection into the bottom corner. Although this goal does not fix everything and does not make United a great team, in the midst of a disastrous situation, any small victories must be appreciated.