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Fernandes outlines referee conversation after Man Utd’s controversial opener

Bruno Fernandes has admitted he didn’t touch the ball in the build-up to Manchester United ’s controversial goal against Fulham.

Edinson Cavani treated the 10,000 returning fans at Old Trafford to a sumptuous chip from distance in the opening exchanges.

The goal was given by the on-field officials after Fernandes appeared to flick on a forward ball from United keeper David de Gea.

That ‘touch’ allowed Cavani to run beyond Fulham’s high line before dinking the ball over Alphonse Areola from all of 45 yards.

It was a goal truly befitting the long-awaited return of spectators, but replays did show that the goal was fortunate to have stood.

Cavani celebrates after his stunning opener – but replays showed he was in an offside position from De Gea’s pass

When De Gea played the ball out of his penalty area, Cavani was clearly offside, only to arc his run when officials thought Fernandes had touched it.

However, on closer inspection, it appeared the Portuguese maestro had failed to make any contact, meaning the goal could have been ruled out by VAR.

But Fernandes revealed that referee Lee Mason, who will become a full-time VAR next season, adjudged him to have touched the ball.

Bruno Fernandes admitted he failed to make contact with his attempted flick in the build-up to Cavani's strike
Bruno Fernandes admitted he failed to make contact with his attempted flick in the build-up to Cavani’s strike

“Honestly I didn’t feel the touch. The referee said I touched the ball. How it is, I don’t care honestly,” Fernandes told Sky Sports.

“I always say the most important goal is the one that hits the net, it doesn’t matter who gets the goal or the assist.”

Fulham came back into the game after the break and Joe Bryan’s thumping header earned them a share of spoils in the 1-1 draw.

Despite that, Scott Parker was left annoyed at the decision to award Cavani’s goal, particularly after officials at Stockley Park replayed it on several occasions.

Scott Parker was left furious following the decision to allow Man Utd's goal
Scott Parker was left furious following the decision to allow Man Utd’s goal

He said: “I don’t understand how it’s not offside. The fourth official said if Fernandes hasn’t touched it he’s five yards offside. I’ve looked at it back.

“ I can understand if we didn’t have VAR, I get that that goal can be given due to human error, but when you can slow it down and look at the angles you can see he’s not touched it.”

The result means United failed to officially confirm their status as Premier League runners-up, although should Leicester fail to beat Chelsea, second place will be assured.

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