Manchester United staged a superb Champions League comeback against Atalanta on Wednesday evening to win 3-2 at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils had been booed off the field by the frustrated home crowd at half-time after the visitors had raced into a two-goal lead, but the following 45 minutes were a sharp contrast to the opening period.
Goals from Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral had put La Dea into a comfortable lead going into the break, with United’s lack of organisation, structure and attacking intent easily exposed.
However, Marcus Rashford bagged his second strike in two games since returning from injury just eight minutes into the second half, swinging the momentum of the tie firmly in the home side’s favour.
Captain Harry Maguire then stepped up when his charges needed him most, expertly driving home at the near post after being left unmarked following a corner, before Cristiano Ronaldo inevitably stole the headlines.
Just as he did against Villarreal three weeks ago, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner stepped up as the game was drawing to a close to snatch all three points, rising highest to meet a fabulous Luke Shaw cross, sending United to the top of Group F.
But despite the Portugal international’s heroics, it was arguably his compatriot Bruno Fernandes who was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s real hero on the night.
The 27-year-old epitomised United’s sloppy play in the first half, with countless passes from the playmaker going astray as he failed to spark the hosts into life, yet his willingness to keep trying things others wouldn’t even think of finally paid dividends.
It was Fernandes who got the assist for Rashford’s crucial goal with an audacious through ball via the outside of his boot, and it spurred the creative talent on to drive the Red Devils to victory.
As per FotMob, he received a match rating of 8.9 out of 10, the highest total awarded to any player on the pitch, and when looking at his underlying numbers, it’s easy to understand why.
Alongside his assist, Fernandes also created three chances for his teammates, won a whopping 10 duels throughout the 90 minutes and made a huge eight key passes, highlighting his influence over proceedings.
With tricky fixtures against Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on the horizon for United, Solskjaer will be hoping his star midfielder can replicate his second-half performance from start to finish.