The game started fairly openly until Willy Gnonto took control. Rodrigo flicked the ball into the feet of Gnonto, whose one-two with Summerville opened up the perfect opportunity to touch and shoot past Fabianski at the near post.
But, in typical fashion, Leeds dropped off as soon as they took the lead. After a worrying spell toward the end of the half, Pascal Struijk gave away a penalty kick after Bowen latched onto a cross in front of the Dutchman, whose challenge was too late. Paqueta stepped up for the Hammers, firing his first goal for the away side into the top-right corner.
Fifteen minutes in the dressing room did nothing for the game's momentum, as Aaronson gave the ball away to Samacca just seconds after kick-off. The Italian took a touch out his feet and fizzed a perfect strike off the inside of the post and into the back of the net.
The home side struggled to create anything for much of the second half, until Rodrigo opened the floodgates with 20 minutes to go. Jack Harrison entered the field and made a big impact, feeding Rodrigo through the middle of the field who bent the ball around the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner.
Just minutes later, Rodrigo should’ve had another after being sent through again by Jack Harrison. This time, the Spaniard was found in plenty of space down the left channel, but his poor finish would likely have blazed over the bar for a goal-kick had Fabianski not tipped the ball behind.
Liam Cooper also should’ve scored when Sam Greenwood’s corner dropped onto his head with absolute perfection. The Leeds skipper arguably couldn’t have done much better on his first attempt, but Michail Antonio was well-placed on the goal-line to clear it away. It only went as far as Cooper for a second bite at the apple, only for the ball to fly wayward of the target.
CONCACAF THUNDER AT ELLAND ROAD as Tyler Adams goes in hard on Michail Antonio with the max. effort tackle to shut down the West Ham attack, and even earn a goal kick for Leeds. Dude just craves contact. pic.twitter.com/sWTX4Liiib— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) January 4, 2023
In the dying moments, the two sides traded perhaps their best opportunities of the game. First, West Ham broke forward through Benhrama, whose curling ball from the far side was just inches away from the diving toe of Antonio who did all he could to reach Benhrama’s tantalising cross.
At the other end, a well-worked Leeds free-kick opened up room for Rodrigo to plant a last-gasp header at the near post toward the top corner, only for the keeper to pull off a fantastic stop to keep the honours even.
All the Leeds players donning Mateus Klich shirts. Klich in tears applauding the crowd and they're applauding him. This is it for him. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) January 4, 2023
'You're Leeds and you know you are' ringing out. Players all wearing shirts with 43 on the back and his name.— Graham Smyth (@GrahamSmyth) January 4, 2023
Guard of honour forming for him to leave the pitch.