Sunderland managed to secure a vital point against a wasteful Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night at the Stadium of Light.
The draw was crucial for the Black Cats, following results from elsewhere going against the Wearsiders and their bid to escape relegation to the Championship for the fourth-successive season.
David Moyes’ side showed determination and spirit over a tough 90 minutes and were rewarded for their efforts, but one player who stood out in particular was Didier Ndong.
Sunderland have missed the Gabon international greatly since his departure for the African Cup of Nations in early January.
His ability to control possession is something Sunderland rely on, which is understandable when comparing his pass success rate of 28.6 per game on average to five which are misplaced.
That coupled with the youngsters ruthlessness possibly shows what has been missing during the Black Cats lacklustre performances of late.
The 22-year-old provides a calmness and composure to the Wearsiders, and allows the likes of Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe to apply their concentration further up the field.
The red and white army were somewhat sceptical when Ndong arrived in the north east, but since then support has grown for the Gabonese star.
That was no more evident than after the 0-0 draw against Spurs on Tuesday, when Sunderland fans flocked to Twitter to praise the return of the defensive midfielder.
Here are some of the best tweets:
And then Ndong – two games, two great showings – arguably man of the match against both Liverpool and Spurs.
— Roker Report (@RokerReport) February 1, 2017
— Andrew Nolan (@BigmoNolan) February 1, 2017
Absolutely love Ndong me. Tonight just proved how crucial he is. So good man
— Rossy (@safc0308) January 31, 2017
My man of the match goes to Ndong! ????????????
— The SAFC Bible (@TheSAFCBible6) January 31, 2017
Very good point against a very good side. Having Kone and Ndong back made a huge difference. #safc
— James Hunter (@JHunterChron) January 31, 2017
Ndong is our best player by far. Absolute Class act
— Joshua (@JoshBew95) January 31, 2017
Ndong has been outstanding that first half best performance I have seen by him ????????
— Joe Brown (@JBrownie_99) January 31, 2017
NDong turned into Zidane for a moment there
— Jonny Smith (@OrwiteTreacle) January 31, 2017
@Ibrahim_Ndong Great game from you last night! HA'WAY THE LADS! ????
— Paul Dobson (@pauldopa) February 1, 2017