Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes said a goal awarded to him – the first of his two in a 2-0 win over Uruguay on Monday – could have been scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, but what mattered was securing Portugal’s qualification to the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Fernandes was named the author of Portugal’s first goal in the 54th minute when his cross appeared to go just over Ronaldo’s head and fell into the goal with Uruguayan goalkeeper Sergio Rochet confused by Ronaldo’s leap.
The Portugal captain appeared to be claiming the goal with his celebrations and was then seen laughing when Fernandes was announced as the official scorer over the stadium loudspeakers.
“The feeling I had was that Cristiano touched the ball, I passed the ball to him. What matters is that we advance to the next round after facing a very tough opponent,” Fernandes told reporters.
Portugal won their first two matches at the World Cup, beating Ghana 3-2 last week ahead of Monday’s victory over Uruguay, the team that eliminated them from the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Fernandes, who was Ronaldo’s teammate at Manchester United until last week when the five-time Ball-winnerGoldAnd the club parted bitterly, getting his second goal in added time. With Ronaldo already substituted, Fernandes scored from the penalty spot.
Having secured qualification to the knockout stages, manager Fernando Santos dismissed media suggestions to field an alternative squad against South Korea on Friday to rest key players.
“First place is not guaranteed. We will go for the first place, and not only for Brazil,” Santos said.
Brazil is likely to win Group G, which would mean they would then play second place in Group H, which is currently led by Portugal.