Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel branded Bruno Fernandes “stupid” for giving away a penalty in the first half of Manchester United’s 2-1 (4-3 on aggregate) win over Barcelona on Thursday evening. The Portuguese playmaker was adjudged to have fouled Alejandro Balde inside the box during the first half, before Robert Lewandowski’s penalty just found its way past David De Gea to open the scoring.
In the opening 20 minutes, Fernandes tangled with the Barcelona left-back as Balde attempted to turn in the United area and pulled the Spaniard down. The hosts complained but VAR sided with the on-field referee and no decision was made to overturn the call, despite protests from Erik ten Hag and his squad.
Schmeichel was furious with Fernandes for giving away a “stupid” penalty at a crucial time in the tie, claiming that the captain on the day “owes the team” for ensuring they went a goal down. "It looks like a penalty,” Schmeichel told BBC 5 Live. “It is so stupid to pull a man down inside the penalty area in a situation where Alejandro Balde is going away from goal. David de Gea gets a full hand to it but only manages to put it off the post and it still goes in.
“We are talking about big games, the one thing you have to eradicate is mistakes. Bruno Fernandes is still arguing, he needs to get a grip of himself, he has played a couple of sloppy passes. Now he has given away the penalty and he owes the team."
Paul Scholes, on the panel with Hargreaves, also conceded that while the contact was minimal between Fernandes and Balde, the referee made the correct decision. “I think just about,” Scholes added.
“I know it doesn’t look like there’s much contact, but when you get touched on the arm like that it does send you off balance and that’s clearly what he’s done.
"I don’t think the lad’s cheating one bit, I think it is just a little bit too much contact and you can understand why the referee has given it.”