FA Cup news | Wilfried Gnonto stars for Leeds United with goal over Cardiff City in first minute


Wilfried Gnonto has signalled his status as a star of the future after scoring for Leeds United just 26 seconds into their FA Cup match against Cardiff City.

Leeds delivered a 5-2 drumming over Cardiff in the third round fixture with Gnonto, just 19 years old, scoring twice at Elland Road.

It was one-way traffic for the home side, who scored five answered goals before Cardiff consolidated with two of their own in the final few minutes. 

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Gnonto and teammate Patrick Bamford each scored two goals in the first and second half respectively, bookending Rodrigo Moreno’s effort in the 34th minute.

Bamford, 29, was full of praise for his teammate.

“The reaction from everyone on the bench I think sums it up really, like wow, they couldn’t believe what they had seen,” said Bamford.

“I don’t think he realises how good he is, which is sometimes a good thing because he’s so down to earth. His dad drives him into training every day.

“He’s just a happy guy, he’s always just smiling and is one of the kids you want to watch straight away.”

Gnonto’s incredible effort also earnt the praise of Leeds coach Jesse Marsch, who hailed the young gun’s rapid development.

“Willy has been playing at a high level for a few weeks now, so I’m not surprised. It was a great start with his first goal,” Marsch told ITV.

“I think he has developed really quickly. You can see his belief in himself.

“He’s a really grounded person and I think part of his success is that he’s about his work.

“He’s about always trying to do more, do better, taking on information that we give him and then trying to put it into practice. It was another really good performance from him.

“It was funny because Luis (Sinisterra) went down injured and it gave Cry Summerville a chance to get going; Cry has gone down and it’s given Willy a chance to get himself going. 

“You can see the confidence is developing, even coming out of the Villa game, I knew that we were going to be confident. That was good to see tonight.”

Gnonto has been long tipped for stardom having signed to Inter Milan at just nine years old to its development program.

In 2020, then just 17 years old, he made his debut for Zurich. In his second season with the club he enjoyed success, winning the Swiss Super League.

In September last year, Gnonto signed to his current Premier League side on a five-year deal and debuted for the club less than two months later.

Gnonto has also represented Italy.

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