Spotlight on Helder Costa as Leeds United flyer adds welcome cigar against Middlesbrough
HELDER COSTA came into the Leeds United side as Marcelo Bielsa's only change against Middlesbrough with the winger answering the call with an effective performance and a stunning goal.
Summer marquee recruit Costa was making only his eighth league start for Leeds in replacing the injured Tyler Roberts and lining up on the right wing as Pablo Hernandez moved to the no 10 role.
The Portuguese star saw plenty of the ball in the first half but was unable to add any real end product.
Costa looked set to cause problems when darting through the Middlesbrough midfield midway through the half only to be dispossessed by a good tackle by Lewis Wing.
That summed up Costa's half, involved and lively but with no cigar and the second half began in the same fashion.
But Costa's luck finally changed through his own hard work and perseverance in the 67th minute when the winger cut inside and beat several men before unleashing a rasping drive that flew past Aynsley Pears and into the back of the net.
Costa's delight at his first league goal for Leeds was evident through his celebrations and the Wolves loanee can be pleased with his overall contribution, albeit there is a feeling of being plenty more to come.
Another fierce effort from outside the box in the second half was blocked and Costa was eventually taken off to a standing ovation as Gjanni Alioski was introduced in the 76th minute.
Costa finished up with two shots on goal, 47 touches of the ball and 19 passes of which 16 were accurate. Not United's best but not bad.
But the winger also contributed defensively with four out of four successful tackles and only Luke Ayling achieved more with five.
A good day's work and with confidence buoyed by his first league goal there ought to be many more to come.
Assessing Costa's performance, Bielsa said: "He gave a step forward today. He scored. He is developing, but he can show more impact to unbalance the game than the impact he showed today. But every week he is improving and developing.