Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Nottingham Forest 0-2 Manchester United: Antony and Dalot take Red Devils up to third

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Apr 2023


Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 on Sunday at the City Ground to strengthen their hold on a Champions League qualification spot.

Goals in either half from Antony and Diogo Dalot were enough to take Erik ten Hag’s men up to third in the Premier League table, overtaking Newcastle United after their defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Forest – without a win in 10 – remain in the relegation zone, behind Everton on goal difference.

United’s injury issues lengthened further after Marcel Sabitzer pulled up with a groin problem in the warm-up, with Christian Eriksen replacing him in the starting line-up, but that did not appear to weaken the Red Devils.

Jadon Sancho had a glorious chance to give the visitors the lead inside the first minute after Keylor Navas palmed a Bruno Fernandes cross straight to him, but the former Borussia Dortmund man could only hit Felipe with his effort.

Harry Maguire was lucky not to concede a penalty when a Forest corner struck the England defender’s outstretched arm at the far post, and United took full advantage of that moment of fortune.

Fernandes had been pulling the strings in midfield, and in the 32nd minute, found Anthony Martial with a throughball. The Frenchman’s shot was saved by Navas, but Antony followed in for a simple tap in at the back post.

Navas tipped a Fernandes effort from an angle onto the bar early in the second half, while Martial missed a good headed chance with 20 minutes remaining as United looked for a second.

That arrived in the 76th minute as Antony played a neat ball into the path of Dalot, who raced into the penalty area and finished well past Navas as United secured just their second away league win of 2023.

What does it mean? Ten Hag’s men stroll to three points

This was the first league game at the City Ground between these two since February 1999, when United won 8-1 thanks to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoring four times as a substitute.

This game was not that one-sided, but nonetheless the outcome was seldom in doubt as United largely dominated their hosts.

The Red Devils had 68.4 per cent possession, took 22 shots to six, with eight on target to zero, and completed 596 passes in all.

No Rashford? No problem

With Marcus Rashford out injured, United needed others to step up with goals, and Antony grabbed his first league strike in a while at the City Ground.

The Brazilian scored his first goal in 15 Premier League appearances, after attempting 38 shots without a goal in the competition prior to Sunday.

Navas heroics in vain

The Costa Rican goalkeeper kept his team in it for most of the contest, making six saves as Forest soaked up United pressure, but with no help at the other end, it counted for very little.

Steve Cooper’s side are now without a win in 10 (D3 L7), and rarely looked like ending that run here, though will have been furious not to be awarded a penalty at 0-0.

What’s next?

Forest head to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday, while United travel to Sevilla on Thursday for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final, before their FA Cup semi-final against Brighton and Hove Albion next Sunday.


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