Manchester United loanee Alvaro Fernandez scored the first goal of his professional football career with a goal against Farense in last night’s match for Benfica

Manchester United loanee Alvaro Fernandez scored his first goal in senior football on Monday evening, during Benfica’s 3-1 victory at Farense in the Primeira Liga.

The 21-year-old, who was making just his second top-flight start for the Portuguese giants after joining in January, slotted home after being found by Angel Di Maria, formerly of United, in space at the far post.

That goal, the Eagles’ third of the match, after first half-efforts from Orkun Kokcu and Arthur Cabral, capped off a win which keeps city rivals Sporting honest at the top of the table.

However, Ruben Amorim’s league leaders still enjoy a seven-point cushion over the holders, with just four rounds of fixtures left to play.

Video: Alvaro Fernandez scores first Benfica goal in stunning display for Benfica vs. Farense

The left-back stood out for Benfica, who rotated significantly after Thursday’s Europa League exit at Marseille, registering 98 touches of the ball, two key passes and four tackles during the 90 minutes.

Fernandez was making his 12th appearance of his loan spell at the Estadio da Luz, having played 14 games for Spanish side Granada – who currently have United’s Facundo Pellistri in their squad – in the first half of the campaign.

Last season, the Spaniard turned out on 42 occasions for Preston North End, becoming a valuable member of Ryan Lowe’s squad as they finished 12th in the Championship.

He joined United from Real Madrid in September 2020 and was a regular in our youth teams for his first two years in Manchester, winning the Denzil Haroun Young Player of the Year award in 2022.

Manchester United loanee Alvaro Fernandez scored his first goal for Benfica as they secured a comfortable 3-1 win against Farense in a Liga Portugal clash.

Orkun Kokcu gave Benfica the lead within the opening quarter-hour of the match but Farense restored parity just seven minutes later via Bachir Belloumi.

Roger Schmidt’s men didn’t take long to regain their advantage as Arthur Cabral found the back of the net before the interval. Fernandez then produced a stunning strike in the 67th minute to all but dash any hopes Farense had of staging a comeback and causing a massive upset.

For his goal, the United loanee received a sublime cross from Angel Di Maria. He expertly controlled the ball to bring it under his spell before making a cut and finishing it with his right foot.

In celebration, the Spaniard ran off and performed a salute gesture in front of the fans.

Beyond his fantastic goal, Fernandez was also brilliant in his favoured left-back role. He started in a defensive four of a backline also consisting of Nicolas Otamendi, Antonio Silva and Alexander Bah.

During the time he was on the pitch, Fernandez made just one clearance and put in four tackles. The full-back was not dribbled past even once.

Engaging in 14 ground duels, he emerged victorious 10 times. In aerial contests, he faced four challenges and triumphed in three. Fernandez showcased not only his defensive prowess but also his unyielding determination.

The 21-year-old registered a total of 98 touches of the ball. He successfully found his Benfica teammates with 55 of the 64 passes he attempted, managing a personal pass completion rate of 86%. It’s important to note that two of Fernandez’s passes were key passes.

He tried to ping five long balls and deliver two crosses. Just one of his crosses hit its mark while he found his intended target with two long balls he pinged.

Fernandez embarked on six dribbles and completed four of them.

(Stats obtained from Sofascore)

Against Farense, the former Real Madrid starlet certainly showed United what they’re missing out on, especially considering the Red Devils currently have no natural senior left-back who is fit and available to Erik ten Hag for selection. Both Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shw are recovering from injuries expected to keep them out of action until after the season. If given the opportunity, perhaps Fernandez would have done a job for United and offered them something different.

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