West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice was David Moyes’ real hero against Leeds as the Irons recorded a 2-1 win at Elland Road on Friday night.
The Hammers came from behind to secure all three points in West Yorkshire after the Whites opened the scoring through a controversial penalty which Mateusz Klich converted on the second attempt, with VAR ordering a re-take after deeming Lukasz Fabianski to have been off his line.
Tomas Soucek pulled West Ham back into the game midway through the first-half when Illan Meslier failed to deal with the Czech Republic international’s tame header, and was again beaten 10 minutes from time when Angelo Ogbonna completed the comeback.
Moyes was incensed by the decision to award Leeds a second attempt at scoring from the spot in the early stages of the first-half, feeling video assistant referees are making “terrible decisions” across the Premier League this season.
“There are some terrible decisions that are happening at the moment,” Moyes said, via quotes by BBC Sport. “Whoever saw it must have had (Fabianski’s foot) X-rayed. The decision was rubbish.
“It was a definite penalty. I was angry. I am still angry. This is the way football has gone.
“I think his heel is on the line. You need to have a microscope to see it. Surely the benefit should go to the goalkeeper, he has made the save. The game continued for 15 seconds and carried on. I am disappointed and angry with it.”
Goals from Soucek and Ogbonna saw West Ham fight back from the controversial decision to beat Leeds 2-1, yet it was Rice – who England icon Gary Lineker claimed “gets better and better” – who was the real hero at Elland Road.
Rice was given the freedom of the stadium as he locked down the centre of the park alongside Soucek, offering an imperious wall in front of Moyes’ back four while providing a string of tidy offensive contributions.
Only Jarrod Bowen left Elland Road having chalked a higher number of key balls beside his name, with the winger’s four the joint-most by any player for either side and twice that of Rice and the clutch of men to have provided two, per WhoScored.
Moyes was forced to rely on Rice defensively more so than in attack as Leeds enjoyed 64% of the possession, yet were restricted to 13 shots whilst the Hammers unleashed 19.
Rice helped thwart Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites with two interceptions and won six of his eight duels (3/4 ground, 3/4 aerial), per SofaScore, while never being dribbled past, committing a foul or making an unsuccessful tackle attempt.
Moyes will have been delighted with the performance seen in West Yorkshire, where a win moved West Ham up to fifth in the table for now.