Isak strikes late in both halves as Newcastle come back to beat Forest
Newcastle took all three points, and a massive step toward a top-four finish, as Alexander Isak bagged a brace to give the Magpies a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Friday.
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The victory puts Newcastle (47 points - 5th place) just one point behind 4th-place Tottenham with a game in hand (and a head-to-head meeting still to come, on April 23). Nottingham Forest (26 points), meanwhile, remain 13th and just two points above the relegation zone with 11 games left to play.
It was all Newcastle early, with Renan Lodi nearly putting the ball into his own net as the Magpies nearly flawlessly executed a clever set-piece routine in the 12th minute, but they failed to break through and were made to pay for it just before the half-hour mark.
Newcastle defender Sven Botman played a blind ball to Forest’s Emmanuel Dennis, as the Nigerian international intercepted the back pass meant for goalkeeper Nick Pope. Dennis couldn’t get a shot away initially, but he eventually found a narrow window through which to float the ball over Pope and just clear of Botman’s head for the opening goal.
It took nearly 47 minutes, but Newcastle finally got their just reward for all of their attacking intent. Isak somehow got a foot to Joe Willock’s cross, which found Isak but dropped uncomfortably behind the Swedish striker, and angled it off the inside of the far post as the final seconds of first-half stoppage time ticked away.
The scoreboard read 2-1 to Newcastle for nearly four minutes as a lengthy video review was undertaken in the 64th minute. Elliot Anderson appeared to have put the Magpies ahead after heading home a cross from Isak, but Sean Longstaff was ruled in an offside position as the ball pinballed around the penalty are prior to the cross.
Just as he did in the first half, Isak struck once again in stoppage time after his header came off the arm of Moussa Niakhate inside the penalty area. Newcastle’s club-record signing stepped to the penalty spot, sent Keylor Navas one way and hammered the ball the other.
Stars of the show
Next time out in the Premier League, Newcastle will host 3rd-place Manchester United 50 points) on Sunday (11:30 am ET) with a chance to go level on points with the Red Devils and perhaps leapfrog Spurs, should results go their way. Nottingham Forest will be back at the City Ground to host 13th-place Wolves (27 points) on Saturday (10 am ET).
How to watch Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 4pm ET, FridayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Forest has kept just one clean sheet since the calendar turned to February and that was against finish-challenged Leeds United. Forest boss Steve Cooper would normally look to Brennan Johnson, but the striker is questionable for the match. Chris Wood and Taiwo Awoniyi are out, too. Can Emmanuel Dennis lead the line if needed?
Newcastle got another goal from Miguel Almiron to beat Wolves, and Eddie Howe will hope this means the start of another hot streak for the Paraguayan. Meanwhile, the show’s been all about Bruno Guimaraes in the midfield and Sven Botman at the back. But can Nick Pope get over his possession foibles? The incredible shot stopper has been collecting gaffes the past month or so.
Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Chris Wood (thigh), Scott McKenna (thigh), Willy Boly (thigh), Dean Henderson (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Omar Richards (calf) | QUESTIONABLE: Brennan Johnson (groin), Cheickou Kouyate (thigh), Wayne Hennessey (knee)
Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Joelinton (suspension), Anthony Gordon (ankle), Emil Krafth (knee), Ryan Fraser (undisclosed)