Five-star Leeds stroll into FA Cup fourth round with replay rout over Cardiff City

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Five-star Leeds stroll into FA Cup fourth round with replay rout over Cardiff City
Wilfried Gnonto celebrates his opening strike in the first minute of the FA Cup tie
Wilfried Gnonto celebrates his opening strike in the first minute of the FA Cup tie
AFP
A welcome brace for Patrick Bamford as he continues his way back from injury was the highlight of an emphatic 5-2 FA Cup Third Round replay victory against Cardiff City at Elland Road on Wednesday evening. Bamford was not the only player to score twice as exciting young Leeds prospect Wilfried Gnonto got on the scoresheet in the first half with a pair of his own.

Carrying on where he left off in a 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa last Friday, Gnonto channelled his inner Paolo Di Canio by firing an exquisite first-time volley past Jak Alnwick in the Cardiff goal, in a manner reminiscent of his compatriot’s famous effort against Wimbledon in March 2000.

Frustratingly for the hosts, Gnonto somehow failed to double his and Leeds’ tally for the evening from close range on 20 minutes, but Leeds did extend their lead in the 34th minute, when top scorer Rodrigo clinically fired Jack Harrison’s enticing cross past Alnwick.

Gnonto then took the tie away from the Welsh side three minutes later with another brilliantly-taken finish, giving Leeds a surely unassailable lead in their first FA Cup replay since January 2013.

Cardiff thought they had pulled one back shortly before the interval, when Curtis Nelson slotted in from close range. But to the dismay of the Bluebirds’ captain, his strike was eventually ruled out after VAR adjudged Andy Rinomhota to have been blocking Illan Meslier’s eyeline.

After a relatively low-key start to the second half, the majority of those inside Elland Road were left slightly deflated when new signing Maximilian Wober departed with a nasty-looking injury.

But the jubilation of the home faithful was restored in the 71st minute, when second-half substitute Bamford sublimely slotted a fourth past Alnwick.

With Cardiff looking ready for the journey back to Wales, Bamford then punished the overwhelmed Bluebirds further with his first brace since netting a hat-trick against Villa in October 2020.

Leeds’ landslide win ends a streak of six successive third-round exits, and Whites fans will be hoping for better fortunes in the near future, despite the annoyance of conceding a late brace from Callum Robinson in the dying minutes.

However, Marsch’s side will now have to wait to find out who they will face in the next round, after Stanley's match against Boreham Wood was called off when the pitch failed a late inspection.

As for Cardiff, the chance for them to bring the FA Cup onto Welsh soil for the first time in 96 years was never truly there, as they collapsed in the face of a top-tier team aiming to end more than five decades of FA Cup hurt.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds United)

Check out all the match stats with Flashscore.

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