Leeds United 5 Cardiff City 2: Willy Gnonto takes centre stage as Whites take an easy route into FA Cup fourth round

Leeds United did it the easy way in their FA Cup third-round replay.

Yes, you read that right.

From the moment Willy Gnotno scored a stunning volley after 26 seconds, the only team at Elland Road who looked capable of beating Leeds was Leeds.

The pessimist who remembered the first game might not have been sitting comfortably when Rodrigo made it two in the 34th minute, but when Gnonto added his second two minutes later, it really was time to get out the cigars.

STUNNER: Leeds United's Wilfried Gnonto opens the scoring in the first minuteSTUNNER: Leeds United's Wilfried Gnonto opens the scoring in the first minute
STUNNER: Leeds United's Wilfried Gnonto opens the scoring in the first minute
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When Cardiff City had a goal harshly chalked by referee Thomas Bramall's review, they could safely be lit.

It was if the Whites forgot they are supposed to be the worst team around when 1-0 up, but in case you doubted it was really them, Luke Ayling clumsily let a Sheyi Ojo cross through his legs for former Sheffield United player Callum Robinson to score a not-in-any-way-consoling consolation goal..

In the second half Patrick Bamford helped himself to his second and third goals in two games as those that needed them took breathers and those requiring minutes - Luis Sinisterra made his first appearance since October - got them.

Cardiff paid back all the confidence they took off Leeds in south Wales with enough interest to make a loan shark wince.

ECSTATIC: Rodrigo celebrates the second goalECSTATIC: Rodrigo celebrates the second goal
ECSTATIC: Rodrigo celebrates the second goal

Of course there will be bigger tests, of course a 5-2

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win over an out-of-form, managerless Championship side proved nothing. But defeat would not have been shrugged off easily at all. The seven-game winless streak is over, the "all competition" statistics look a bit less gruesome.

It was a night for an exciting young talent, as Gnonto showed from the start. By the time he was substituted to a standing ovation after 66 minutes , he had tripled his goal output for the club.

It said everything that whenever the ball was played for Italian teenager Gnonto to run onto, or crossed in his general direction, there was audible anticipation around Elland Road.

Football is all about the kind of excitement Gnonto brings.

There was no seeing Gnonto's opening gambit coming, though. Tyler Adams won the ball in midfield and fed Rodrigo. When the ball cleared Tom Sang's head, Gnonto produced an airborne Paulo Di Canio-style volley (if you are too young to know what that looks like, get yourself onto Google ASAP).

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From there it was Leeds, Leeds, Leeds - mostly Gnonto, Gnonto, Gnonto.

Sam Greenwood was enjoying himself on the right of midfield and chipped a ball just out of reach for Gnonto to show his first was no fluke.

When Greenwood teed Jack Harrison up to have a go, he bottled it, trying to control the ball and overdoing that.

You would be angry for Gnonto over the chance he missed after 20 minutes if he was not so quick to make youi forget it, ballooning a great opportunity from another Greenwood delivery.

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As has become their habit, Leeds' 4-3-3 was lopsided and Harrison was having almost as much fun in the inside-left channel as the main outside him. He played Gnonto down the middle only for Jak Alnwick to produce a great right-handed save.

Cardiff cleared off the line when Gnonto squared for Greenwood.

All the Bluebirds had been able tio offer was two shots straight at Illan Meslier, one from a free-kick squared to Mark Harris 20 yards out, and another from Sheyi Ojo barely worth a mention.

So to say a second goal was coming was an understatement. Harrison's curling pass provided it, Rodrigo took his time getting the ball under control, took it around the goalkeeper and coolly found the net.

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Another Harrison ball down the middle let Gnonto cut onto his right and slip the ball in.

Cardiff had the ball in the net when Kion Etete, in far too much space, flicked a ball to Curtis Nelson, in far too much space, to head in. When Mike Dean told Bramall to check his monitor, the referee decided Andy Rinomhota was too close to Meslier by Wednesday's definition of interfering with play. Thursday's might be completely different.

There was no VAR in the first game.

Leeds were much slower out of the blocks for the second half, Gnonto dawdling 64 seconds until he shot a Bamford pass against a defender. He also hit the side netting and substitute Joe Gelhardt forced an unconvincing save.

Bamford had looked as though he thought he was offside when Gnonto played him in after 61 minutes, but he was only able to force a save.

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if anything, he looked more offside when he next went through - he was not - but this time he curled into the net.

He added a second, controlling and finding the net with the outside of his right foot when the shot was nicely on his right as if in homage to the now-departed Gnonto.

If Ayling's brainwave was infuriating, Cardiff's second was worse.

Bramall again went over to his monitor to view pictures which appeared to show Marc Roca handling outside the area. The referee decided he had made a clear and obvious error, and gave a penalty.

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Honestly, you could replace all these high-tech VAR cameras with a 2p coin to toss.

Meslier dived right, Robinson went left and the scoreline at least had a bit more of a Leedsy look.

The winner of Boreham Wood v Accrington Stanley await.

Leeds United: Meslier; Kristensen, Llorente, Wober (Ayling 57), Firpo; Greenwood, Adams (Aaronson 46), Roca; Rodrigo (Bamford 46), Harrison (Sinisterra 77), Gnonto. Unused substitutes: Perkins, Gyabi, Struijk, Robles, Gelhardt.

Cardiff City: Alnwick; Sang, Nelson, Simpson, Bagan; Rinomhota (Robinson 63), Sawyers; M Harris (Kipre 46), Ojo, Colwill (Wintle 46); Etete (Davies 63). Unused substitutes: Allsop, O'Dowda, Whyte, Philogene, Ng.

Referee: T Bramall (Sheffield).