Twice in two weeks Ronaldo Vieira has put Norwich City to the sword. It was clear from the angry mood of the crowd at Carrow Road that his inspired strike in injury-time on Saturday afternoon cut deeper than last month’s League Cup success.
The 18-year-old proved nerveless in settling a fourth-round penalty shoot-out at Elland Road on October 25 and he came good again in more sensational fashion on Saturday, scoring from 30 yards in the first minute of added time to earn a valuable Championship win.
City’s exit from the League Cup did their manager, Alex Neil, no favours at all with pressure mounting on his shoulders but Vieira’s intervention saw Leeds climb to sixth in the table, Norwich drop to fifth and Neil face chants of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ from the home crowd at Carrow Road.
Vieira beat goalkeeper Michael McGovern from long range moments after Norwich’s Kyle Lafferty looked to have snatched a 2-2 draw. The midfielder’s effort – driven at McGovern after Eunan O’Kane played a short free-kick to his feet – capped a classy performance from Garry Monk’s side at a ground where only one other side have won this season. It was Vieira’s first goal from open play as a professional player.
“The wall backed out,” Vieira said. “They initially went backwards and I just said ‘Eunan, give me it’. I thought ‘I’m going to take a shot’. I just went for it and it was one of those days when it went in.
“It feels good to score goals for this great club and to score my first for Leeds is just amazing. The things this team have done in such a short time with all the new staff and new players – it’s been fantastic to be part of this group.”
Vieira, who signed his first professional deal shortly before the end of last term, is part of a core of young players in Monk’s squad and a prominent part of Leeds’ first-team plans.
Monk sent him on at Norwich with 18 minutes to go with the game level at 1-1. United took a 2-1 lead through Chris Wood but an 89th-minute equaliser from Lafferty appeared to have stolen a point. Vieira’s riposte in injury-time was enough to push United into the Championship’s play-off positions.
“It’s a very important result and it takes us into the play-offs which is good for the team,” Vieira said. “It means we are achieving – well, not achieving, but we are closer to our goals.
“It was good to celebrate with the fans and they’ve been a fantastic support. Four hours away – it’s not easy to get (to Norwich) and the way the fans were, it felt like we were at home. Happily I got the goal and the winner.”
Monk avoided singling out individual players afterwards but he said: “We’ve got a lot of young players and it’s exciting for me to be working with potential like that.
“There’s a few of them who have a shot on them and it’s all about encouraging them to take it at the right time.
“Hopefully this encourages them to do that. Shooting from distance is something we work on in training and we need to do more of it because the players have got the capability.”