Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva have been playing in the same city for a short time, cross the same ranks of the National Team for several years, played against rivals in the Portuguese capital and are now part of the most exciting generation of Portuguese players in recent decades. More than that, both reached a level that is not for everyone: the level of, currently, they can be just Bruno or Bernardo. When it comes to football, the nicknames of one and the other are no longer needed. São Bruno and Bernardo, like any younger brother, any second cousin or any son-in-law who wins his mother-in-law with sympathy. They are undoubtedly two beautiful boys from Portuguese football.
This Sunday, at Old Trafford, Bruno and Bernardo were on opposite barricades. The first, clearly in good form, led Manchester United and made their debut in the city's derby; the second, in a competitive phase that has been more volatile in recent games, was part of the Manchester City fleet that wanted to repay the December defeat at Etihad against the main geographic rival. Also contributing to the Portuguese share in the Manchester derby, João Cancelo was a starter on the right of City's defense.
– Premier League (@premierleague) March 8, 2020
In the preview, Guardiola blurted out that Bruno Fernandes is an “exceptional player” but it ended up being Bernardo Silva to give the highest praise to his teammate. “Bruno is a good friend, I have played with him since the Under-19s in Portugal. (Manchester United is a great club for him, it is a great opportunity and he has been doing very well, I am happy for him because he is my friend (…) He started well and we hope that he will continue to do so. for more than two seasons and was the leader. I think he can be the leader of Manchester United too, ”the Manchester City player said in an interview.
In the game itself, Guardiola was not afraid to explain that, already without the goal of winning the Premier League, he starts to face internal games thinking also in Europe, in this case in the Champions League tie against Real Madrid. On the other hand, Solskjaer's main focus is still on reaching the top four places that give access to next year's Champions League and which are three points behind Chelsea. Therefore, Guardiola left Mahrez on the bench, offering the title to young Phil Foden, and was still without the crucial Kevin De Bruyne, who was injured; Solskjaer, on the other hand, had no major restrictions, but clearly opted for a more defensive and cautious eleven, with three centerpieces and Matic instead of McTominay, to try to build a wall in front of the rearmost sector.
In the first half, Manchester City controlled the opening 15 minutes and confirmed what would be the most expected dynamic: City with more ball, winning the game around David De Gea's penalty area and looking for passing lines to enter the last 20 meters of United's midfield. Solskjaer's team acted in the way they feel most comfortable, retreated and with the sectors together and compact but ready to deploy for the fast transition attack as soon as possible – a model that resulted in the December derby and which the Norwegian coach he seemed to remain faithful. Despite greater control, City failed to create real goal opportunities and it was United, through Bruno Fernandes, who made the first shot of the match (16 ′). A shot that ended up unlocking the rest of the first half and that defined what would be the game's destination until the break.
Manchester City was showing some difficulties in stopping Martial's movements from the left to the central belt – mainly Fernandinho, with many weaknesses when making the double to Cancelo – and it was precisely there that Manchester United was gaining ground to the opposing team . If Wan-Bissaka, based on a great performance, was unbalanced on the right wing, Martial benefited from the greater presence of Bruno Fernandes on the left to infiltrate City's defense and make room for greater mobility for the Portuguese player in the area surrounding the penalty area.
United's goal came about precisely through a combination of Bruno Fernandes and Martial, a clearly rehearsed play developed perfectly by both players. The Portuguese hit a free kick vertically and the Frenchman received it in the penalty area, shooting low to beat Ederson (30 ′). Martial became the first since Cantona to score against City in three consecutive starts as Bruno, Bruno has been involved in a Manchester United goal for the sixth time since he moved to England (three goals, three assists). Until the break, United maintained the control they had shown in the moments before the goal and dominated City, who lost their judgment in the last moments of the first half and left for the dressing room in clear difficulties.
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The second half started with a goal canceled by VAR to Sergio Agüero, who appeared isolated in the face of De Gea but was in an irregular position (48 ′). Manchester City ran after the loss, of course, but continued to show many difficulties when it came to danger in the United goal, being evident the lack that De Bruyne makes in the team. Bernardo and Agüero were replaced by Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus before the hour of play, Sterling missed a good opportunity to draw (76 ′) and Manchester United was gaining confidence in the match, with the clear notion that the clock was running in their favor . Daniel James was close to causing an error by Ederson, Bruno Fernandes came close to the final whistle to give way to Ighalo and McTominay even took advantage of a poor launch by the City goalkeeper to make a great goal from open goal and increase the advantage already discounts (90 + 6 ′).
Manchester United beat Manchester City for the second time this season, after winning at Etihad in December, and were three points behind the podium and Chelsea. Bruno Fernandes made another assist, returned to be one of the best members of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team, took the crown from Bernardo Silva and is now the new prince of Manchester: the new younger brother, the new second cousin and the new son-in-law who conquers his mother-in-law.