Leeds catapulted out of relegation zone with win over Nottingham Forest
Leeds United took a massive step toward avoiding relegation with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on Tuesday.
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The bottom of the Premier League table is so tight these days that with three crucial points, Leeds (29 points) went from 18th to 13th, now two points and five places above the relegation zone. Nottingham Forest (27 points, -28 goal difference), meanwhile, have taken slipped to 17th, level on points with 18th-place Bournemouth (-30 GD).
Forest bagged the opener after a dozen minutes, as Emmanuel Dennis surged down the left wing before crossing to Orel Mangala atop the penalty area. Seven Leeds outfield players occupied the penalty area, but only one of them made an effort to defend the threat, allowing Mangala to shift the ball to his right foot and hammer is past Illan Meslier for a 1-0 lead.
The lead lasted just eight minutes, though, as Keylor Navas was unable to hold onto Marc Roca’s rather tame shot from distance, spilling the ball into the path of Jack Harrison, who fizzed the rebound under the outstretched Navas to make it 1-1.
The game had massively tilted Leeds’ way by the end of the first half, and Javi Gracia’s side got its just reward in stoppage time. Luis Sinisterra received the ball out near the sideline, and no other player touched it before it hit the back of the net. The Colombian winger beat Neco Williams more than once as he weaved his way inside the penalty area and into a central enough shooting position, where he fired a curler through a forest of defenders and out of Navas’ reach.
Nottingham Forest running out of time (and winnable fixtures)
Over their final nine games of the season, Forest are slated to play seven sides currently in the top-11 of the table (non-relegation-threatened), leaving them with just two games against sides fellow relegation fighters (AKA, winnable games).
Tuesday’s defeat made it eight games without a win (0W-3D-5L) for Steven Cooper’s side, on the heels of their only positive stretch of the season — a five-game unbeaten run (3W-2D-0L) back in January.
Stars of the show
Up next for Leeds in their fight for Premier League status, is a visit from Crystal Palace (30 points - 12th place) on Sunday (9 am ET). On Saturday (10 am ET), Nottingham Forest will travel to Villa Park to take on red-hot Aston Villa (44 points - 7th place), who are unbeaten in their last six PL games (5W-1D-0L).
How to watch Leeds vs Nottingham Forest live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 2:45pm ET, TuesdayTV Channel: USA ChannelOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Leeds was bossed around by Arsenal but Marc Roca and Rasmus Kristensen represented themselves well even before the latter’s deflected strike beat Aaron Ramsdale. They’ll both need to continue to play well in Tyler Adams’ absence.
One of the bright storylines from Forest’s 1-1 draw with Wolves was the return of Danilo, who took three shots and set up Brennan Johnson’s goal. Speaking of Johnson, the Welsh forward was part of a fun front three of sorts with a reinvigorated Emmanuel Dennis joining season star Morgan Gibbs-White in giving hope to the Tricky Trees.
Leeds team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Maximillian Wober (thigh), Stuart Dallas (thigh), Adam Forshaw (groin), Tyler Adams (hamstring), Wilfried Gnonto (ankle).
Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Serge Aurier (knock), Gustavo Scarpa (fitness)I. OUT: Scott McKenna (thigh), Willy Boly (thigh), Dean Henderson (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Omar Richards (calf), Chris Wood (thigh),Ryan Yates (shoulder).