American manager Jesse Marsch is on the hot seat with Leeds United after a disappointing first half of the 2022-23 season. Wednesday’s FA Cup replay vs. Championship outfit Cardiff City was a big one for Marsch.
Defeat wasn’t an option. His team answered the call with a magnificent 5-2 victory.
Marsch’s side entered the FA Cup match on a 7-game winless streak and had narrowly forced the replay with Cardiff City after a 2-2 comeback draw.
With so much pressure on the team and coach, there was such a relief around Elland Road when Wilfried Gnoto scored a spectacular volley 26 seconds into the game.
Tyler Adams won back possession near midfield to help setup the move.
WHAT A START FOR LEEDS UNITED @ESPNPlus19-year-old Willy Gnonto is a special talent! pic.twitter.com/2EenLdgnzi
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 18, 2023
Rodrigo doubled the lead in the 34th after a beautiful assist from Jack Harrison.
As cool as you like @LUFC #EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/o8EHBLkQCN— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 18, 2023
Gnoto is only 19 but has been playing excellent for Leeds as of late. He had six shots with three on target in the game and secured a first half brace just two minutes after Rodrigo’s goal.
A first-half brace for Willy Gnonto pic.twitter.com/AuxjKOlxPX— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) January 18, 2023
Leeds dominated the first half and Marsch made two changes at the half to bring on Patrick Bamford for Rodrigo and do an American swap with Brenden Aaronson coming on for Adams.
Aaronson looked better in this game than some of his previous performances. With Leeds scoring five goals he will be disappointed not to get one for himself. The 22-year-old has been underwhelming in the goal department for Leeds this season with one goal that he scored back in August.
Bamford proved to be the more impactful substitute as he scored a brace in the final 45 minutes. His two goals were five minutes apart in the 71st and 76th. Leeds were flying five goals clear of Cardiff.
BAMFORD IS BACKLeeds are up 4-0 on Cardiff City! pic.twitter.com/zHoaQFrxCi
— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) January 18, 2023
Two goals for Patrick Bamford off the bench pic.twitter.com/MmbEY65yJI— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) January 18, 2023
It wouldn’t have been a true Leeds game if they didn’t concede, and they did just that in the closing stages. Cardiff substitute Callum Robinson scored twice to make the score line look a little friendlier.
Callum Robinson pounces on a mistake to give @CardiffCityFC a goal #EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/Gd8rJRVC3k— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 18, 2023
Leeds’ next opponent in the FA Cup will be the winner of fifth tier Boreham Wood and League One’s Accrington Stanley.
With the FA Cup campaign extended March’s focus will turn toward the Premier League where his team has just 17 points from 18 games. Leeds is 14th in the table but only two points above the relegation zone.