Manchester United narrowly defeated Fulham 1-0 in the early kick-off on Saturday, with Bruno Fernandes scoring a late goal to save the Red Devils from embarrassment and alleviate the pressure on Erik ten Hag.
Early in the match, Manchester United thought they had taken the lead when Scott McTominay tapped in a goal, but it was controversially disallowed due to an offside from Harry Maguire in the build-up. The remainder of the first half saw a lack of quality, with both teams struggling to create promising scoring opportunities.
In the second half, Manchester United’s performance was underwhelming, and it seemed they would fall short once again. However, in stoppage time, Fernandes scored a decisive goal from the edge of the area, granting the visitors a somewhat fortunate three points in west London.
Ten Hag was in desperate need of a strong response from his players after suffering consecutive 3-0 defeats, and it appeared that was what the Dutchman was going to get. Manchester United was unlucky not to take an early lead, as Maguire was deemed to be interfering with play from an offside position, despite not touching the ball before McTominay’s eighth-minute goal from a free-kick.
Manchester United had a positive, albeit scrappy, start to the match but failed to create clear-cut chances. Fulham gradually grew into the game as the first half progressed, while Manchester United’s performance faded. Diogo Dalot made a crucial clearance to deny Harry Wilson a goal from a tempting cross just before the half-hour mark, but overall, it was a lackluster first half with little goalmouth action.
Manchester United vs Fulham: Fernandes rescues ten Hag from excess pressure
The best Manchester United could muster in terms of chances was Fernandes’ tame curled effort from the edge of the area, while Wilson and Alex Iwobi squandered promising counter-attacks with wayward shots for Fulham. For Ten Hag, it marked the eighth consecutive game his side failed to take a lead into half-time.
With an unchanged lineup, Manchester United created the first notable chance of the second half when Alejandro Garnacho’s deflected shot was well saved by Bernd Leno. As the game became more open, both teams looked dangerous on the counter-attack, with Wilson testing Andre Onana with a long-range effort in the 60th minute.
Shortly after, Joao Palhinha, who had an impressive performance, saw his powerful strike denied by the Manchester United goalkeeper as Fulham increased the pressure. Calvin Bassey and Rodrigo Muniz both missed the target with headers from set-pieces, with Muniz coming closest to testing Onana.
As time was running out for Manchester United, substitute Facundo Pellistri’s weak attempt was comfortably saved by Leno, while Fernandes’ fierce long-range free-kick provided a tougher challenge for the Fulham goalkeeper.
It seemed that the rather uneventful match would end in a goalless draw, but Manchester United captain Fernandes delivered a crucial winner to relieve the pressure on Ten Hag. The Portuguese midfielder curled a shot beyond Leno from the edge of the area, and the German goalkeeper could only push the ball further towards his bottom corner.
It was far from a standout performance, with Manchester United once again looking poor, but Fernandes came through in the dying moments to provide the visitors with much-needed relief.