Nottingham Forest 0-1 Man Utd

Manchester United Nottingham Forest Casemiro

The contest was initially bright from both teams, but quality had long since faded by the time United’s veteran Brazilian made the decisive impact.

How the game unfolded

United had two incredible opportunities to get ahead quickly, first as Antony, back in the starting lineup after being challenged by his manager to improve his form, struck the crossbar with a first-time finish as he arrived in the penalty area.

Antony was then involved in a promising move that saw Diogo Dalot land a superb cross on Scott McTominay’s head unmarked a few yards from goal. But it was too close to Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner. The American made an even better save half an hour in after the frenetic early pace of the game had subsided, showing impressive reflexes to deny the same player’s near post header.

Forest had plenty of opportunities of their own without ever properly testing Andre Onana, registering 12 shots in the first half alone and getting only two on target.

The hosts had the opening big chance of the second half, with Antony Elanga stretching the United defence and finding Taiwo Awoniyi, whose resultant effort was much too close to Onana. He needed strong wrists moments later to beat away Divock Origi’s powerful effort.

Overall, there had been a distinct lack of quality from both teams in the final third since the opening stages of the game. Bruno Fernandes was wayward in his shooting, while Forest put wicked balls into the box as the end of the 90 came into sight without anyone getting into the middle for them.

The game hadn’t been a spectacle since the early stages and the tie seemed destined for extra-time. But a free-kick at the death changed everything for the visitors. Standing over the ball on the left, Fernandes was smart enough to see the lack of near post defender and whipped in a low delivery that Casemiro only had to glance beyond Turner from close-range.

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