Alan Smith hails Illan Meslier for key performance in huge Leeds United win at West Ham
Alan Smith was filled with praise for Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier after the young Frenchman produced a stunning double save late on at West Ham.
The Whites secured a huge 3-2 win at the London Stadium on Sunday and the 21-year-old’s role in preserving the lead as the game was drawing to a close had the commentator extremely impressed.
Andriy Yarmolenko looked to have equalised immediately following the save but was correctly ruled offside.
On the live broadcast the Sky Sports man said: “It’s a fantastic double save this from Meslier”.
Once the subsequent goal was ruled out he said: “Well Meslier might think he deserves that for those two brilliant stops he made”.
The attacking performances of players such as Raphinha and hat-trick hero Jack Harrison were understandably drawing most of the attention in East London as Marcelo Bielsa’s men shocked the Hammers.
But the intervention of their goalkeeper at the other end can not be downplayed as Leeds had already surrendered leads twice in the game.
Added to this was the fact that the two-goal cushion they thought they had secured through Mateusz Klich was wiped out agonisingly when the ball brushed Rodrigo on the line on the way in, while the Spanish international was in an offside position.
United had already shown great determination to force themselves ahead three times, despite losing two more players to injury in the opening half in Adam Forshaw and Junior Firpo.
So had either of the shots from Vladimir Coufal or Jarrod Bowen that Meslier kept out gone in, the double blow of losing the lead for a third time and feeling injustice at having their own fourth strike ruled out would likely have been a bridge too far.
The importance of the points gained is huge as the Whites climbed nine points from the relegation zone.
In other Leeds United news, the controversially disallowed Klich goal drew this reaction from ex-England striker.