Portual midfielder Bruno Fernandes scored an opening-day hat-trick as Manchester United swept Leeds aside 5-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday, August 14, 2021.
It was Fernandes’ first hat-trick since he moved to Old Trafford in January 2020 and only the second by a Red Devils player since Robin van Persie’s title-winning effort against Aston Villa in 2013.
Fernandes’ last hat-trick was for Sporting Lisbon in an 8-1 hammering of Belenenses in front of just over 5,000 in May 2019.
But the game was also a personal triumph for Paul Pogba.
The France midfielder’s future has been the subject of intense debate as he enters the final year of his contract.
But his four assists included a sublime pass for Greenwood’s goal, and he left the field to a standing ovation 15 minutes from time as £74m new-boy Jadon Sancho was introduced for his debut.
Fernandes opened the scoring on the half-hour mark at a packed Old Trafford, but Luke Ayling’s strike drew Leeds level early in the second half.
Mason Greenwood restored the hosts’ lead with a crisp finish less than two minutes later, before Fernandes’ low shot was ruled to have crossed the line by referee Paul Tierney after a check of goalline technology.
The 26-year-old quickly completed his hat-trick with a fine finish from Victor Lindelof’s pass, before Fred added United’s fourth goal in 14 minutes from Paul Pogba’s cross – the Frenchman’s fourth assist of the afternoon.
For a team whose league record at Old Trafford is poor – Leeds have not won here since 1981 – and who conceded six in the corresponding fixture last season, it did not bode well.
Ayling did offer some hope when he was afforded far too much space to shoot – presumably on the basis he had never previously scored a Premier League goal – and promptly found the corner from 25 yards.