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Bruno Fernandes gives an honest answer to Ronaldo goal debate

"Ronaldo al corner" by Jan S0L0 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Despite Ronaldo initially being credited with Portugal’s opening goal against Uruguay, FIFA later awarded it to Fernandes.

Bruno Fernandes dismissed the importance of the identity of Portugal’s first goalscorer on Monday, insisting the 2-0 World Cup win over Uruguay is what really matters.

The Manchester United midfielder bagged a brace in Lusail to send Portugal into the last-16 stage. Both his goals came in the second half, although there was some confusion on whether the first goal was his or Cristiano Ronaldo’s. The Portugal captain seemingly glanced the ball with his head when Fernandes whipped in a cross in the 54th minute of the game.

However, upon reviewing the scene, FIFA determined Ronaldo didn’t touch the ball and, therefore, awarded Fernandes with the goal.

“I don’t really think it matters who scored the goal at this point,” Fernandes said on Portugal’s opener. “The feeling I had at the time was that Cristiano touched the ball. I was passing the ball to him.”

Winning Group H is the next priority

After Ronaldo was substituted, Fernandes scored an injury-time penalty to seal the 2-0 win against Uruguay. The 28-year-old’s double secured Portugal a knockout spot with a game to spare in Group H.

“What’s important is that we were able to go on to the next round after a very important win against a tough opponent,” Fernandes continued.

“The importance of being first [in Group H] includes winning the next game, which would allow us to come out of the group undefeated with three wins, and that’s what we want.

“We know we will find a very well-organized [South Korea] team ahead of us. Our objective is to think match after match – to win all the ones in the group phase, we still have one ahead of us.

“We have to do our very best because we want to win all the matches.”

Fernandes is the first Portuguese player to manage two goals and two assists in a World Cup since 1966 after Jose Augusto and Jose Torres.

The midfielder will hope to keep his strong form going on Friday when Portugal play South Korea. With a three-point lead over Ghana, a draw will guarantee Fernando Santos’ side top spot in Group H.