Sheffield United pulled off an enormous 3-1 win at Queens Park Rangers on Friday evening, bolstering their chances of finishing in the play-offs.
Paul Heckingbottom’s men were trailing to a Charlie Austin header at the break, but rallied to turn the game on its head with three excellent second half finishes.
Iliman Ndiaye scored his third goal in four games to level proceedings in the opening exchanges of the second period, as the 22-year-old capped another impressive display at the top of the pitch.
Due to injuries to Oli McBurnie, Rhian Brewster, Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick, Ndiaye has stepped up to lead the line in his first full season in the EFL.
The Frenchman is learning on the job very well and his attacking instinct enabled him to find some space to finish from close range in West London.
Considering that Ndiaye was playing in a fairly unfamiliar lone striker role, it was a coming of age display that has taken the Blades a long way towards a huge three points.
Ndiaye completed 17 of 19 passes before being replaced by William Osula in the 75th minute, posting a pass accuracy of 89%, as per Wyscout.
Playing up against three centre backs as a makeshift number nine, Ndiaye gave a great account of himself and certainly made a strong case to stay in the side even with Billy Sharp expected to return from injury in the coming weeks.
The versatile forward was adventurous on the ball as well, sometimes a little too ambitious, only completing three of seven dribbles attempted, however the courage to take people on and find the space to receive the ball where that was possible to do so, speaks to the fluidity and confidence he is playing with, despite the change of position.
Quiz: Which club did Sheffield United sign these 24 players from in the 1990s?
Ndiaye had three shots in the game, accumulating a total of 0.87 expected goals (xG), working an effort from the edge of the box that went just over with a deft touch out of his feet.
Finishing from close range will equate to the majority of that total figure, but he also came close to challenging Murphy Mahoney again with the score 1-1, only for Dion Sanderson to pull off an excellent last ditch sliding block.
Ndiaye’s combination play with Morgan Gibbs-White will be a lot to handle for whoever has to deal with them in the play-offs, should they get there.