Leeds United snatched a point from West Ham United after Rodrigo fired home an equaliser in what was a thrilling affair under the lights at Elland Road on Wednesday night.
The two teams, who find themselves at the wrong end of the Premier League table, battled all evening with the visitors coming from behind to take the lead just seconds after half-time but the in-form Spaniard spared Jesse Marsch and co from four defeats in five with a composed finish in the 70th minute.
He’ll rightly take some plaudits, as well as substitute Jack Harrison – not just because of his nicely-timed assist but also in the way he reacted to being dropped from the starting XI.
Leeds fans, who was your MOTM vs West Ham?
However, we may have just witnessed a breakthrough game for £3.8m summer signing Wilfried Gnonto as he opened the scoring. After a neat one-two with Crysencio Summerville, the Italy international fired home a powerful effort inside ten minutes to bag his first-ever goal for the Whites.
We have seen glimpses of the talent that has seen the 19-year-old already capped eight times by Roberto Mancini, having provided an assist in 45 minutes of action against AFC Bournemouth a few months ago.
But in only his third top-flight start, Gnonto was graded as the highest-rated performer on the pitch by Sofascore figures and he also caught the eye of much of the media attending the encounter.
Indeed, LeedsLive reporter Beren Cross claimed it was another ‘impressive’ outing from the teen, adding: ‘Continued to carry the threat all evening for Leeds. At the forefront of every scrap. Loves a battle.’ Meanwhile, journalist Alan Rzepa claimed he “absolutely ruined” his opposite number, Thilo Kehrer.
The former FC Zurich wonderkid – who is only earning around £20k-per-week in west Yorkshire – was a constant thorn in David Moyes’ side as he managed to win three free-kicks, on top of putting in three tackles himself. He also won 11 of his duels.
Further forward, he managed two shots and three successful dribbles, via Sofascore, as he certainly gave West Ham “nightmares” all night – in the words of writer Tom Carnduff, who also suggested that Leeds had found “an absolute star” in Gnonto.
It’s hard to argue against that and what perhaps makes it even more impressive is the fact that, upon his arrival, Marsch stated that he was one for the long-term future, rather than right now.
“Is he Premier League ready? No, it’d be more of a long-term project with Gnonto,” the American head coach claimed back in August (via Fabrizio Romano).
He’ll have rightfully changed his tune on the £18m-rated gem now.
Based on last night’s showing, Marsch and Leeds may well have unearthed a diamond, at a bargain price too.
AND in other news, Fewer touches than Meslier: Leeds’ “sloppy” dud “struggled” again, he’s looking a flop…