NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: Manchester United moved up to the third spot on the Premier League table, strengthening their chances to qualify for the UEFA Champions League after a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest at The City Ground on Sunday.
There were some chances for Nottingham Forest to score in the first half. Taiwo Awoniyi’s one shot went over the bar.
Things could have gone differently for the hosts had they been given a penalty after the ball struck United’s Harry Maguire’s arm inside the box in the 19th minute. But the VAR call did not go in their favour.
In the 32nd minute of the match, United struck gold as Antony scored one from a close range after winning the ball high up the pitch. It was his fourth goal of the season.
At the end of the first half, the scoreline read in favour of United by 1-0. In the first half, both Nottingham’s Taiwo and United’s Bruno Fernandes blew up their chances to score.
United continued their fierce action in the second half as well. Nottingham goalkeeper Keylor Navas was made to save an effort from Fernandes.
Diogo Dalot, making his 100th appearance for Manchester United came through with a clean finish to Antony’s assist, taking the scoreline to 2-0 in favour of United in the 76th minute.
United stayed around Forest’s box for consistently long periods and registered a total of 22 shots as compared to only six by Nottingham Forest.
With this win, United is in the third position with 59 points, having won 18 of their 30 matches, drawn five and lost seven. Nottingham Forest is in the relegation zone. They have only 27 points to their name in 31 matches, of which they have won only six, drawn nine and lost 16.
Nottingham Forest will visit Anfield to lock horns with Liverpool on Saturday, April 22 in their next Premier League match.
On the other hand, United has some high-profile matches coming. They will come back to action on Thursday as they will be hosted by Sevilla for the second leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie. Then they have the semifinal of the FA Cup against Brighton coming on Sunday.
United’s next Premier League match will be against Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday, April 27.
Following his side’s win, United manager Erik Ten Hag said as quoted by Sky Sports that he wanted a higher score.
“A solid performance. A well-deserved win. The only criticism I could say, it had to be higher, the score. It had to be 3-0 or 4-0. We missed a lot of chances there. You want to score and finish and kill the game in the early moments. That is always important. In big games, you do not create so many chances, so you have to score them.”
“We need more goal scorers and I am happy with Antony. He scored a goal, gave an assist. His start in the game was not that good. I think twice he had to make another choice to bring the ball to Eriksen in a cutback. But after he came into the game and he was continually a threat for the opponent.”
“He is definitely making progress. Against Everton, he created many chances and misses and so I am happy for him today he scored. He had another one, if Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not blocking the shot,” concluded the manager.
Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper also said that his side should have got a penalty in the 19th minute after the ball struck Harry’s arm inside the box.
“I think it was a penalty [against Maguire], it is a really poor error. The referee should see it but I understand why he has not because of the angle and the number of players. Why VAR has is not right?,” said the manager.
“It is another moment that will put big scrutiny on VAR. There have been a lot of negative decisions over the last few weeks and that is another one. I am not going to stand here and say it is the reason we did not win the game, although it could be a second yellow and a red for Maguire, and we could have scored the penalty and gone 1-0 up.”
“It has a big impact, I am really biting my tongue because I do not want to use it as an excuse for why we lost the game or why we are in the league position we are in, it is not. But it is a bad error. How [VAR] Andy Madley has not seen needs real looking at,” concluded the boss. (ANI)