The Magpies’ Champions League hopes are boosted as Isak seals a vital victory

The Magpies’ Champions League hopes are boosted as Isak seals a vital victory

Alexander Isak scored either side of half-time as Newcastle United saw off deserving winners Nottingham Forest on Friday night.

It looked like the Magpies he should have settled for a point, but Isak’s late penalty earned him a well-deserved three points. This win puts them within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham with one game left.

Emmanuel Dennis broke the deadlock for Forest, but Isak leveled the game superbly just before the break.

A second half frustration set in for Eddie Howe’s side as they looked for a winner, not least when they had a controversial goal ruled out by VAR.

But Isak had the last word from the penalty spot after Moussa Niakhate’s handball to keep his Champions League dream alive next season.

The late goal saw Forest beaten at the City Ground for the first time in 10 games dating back to September and could wrap up the weekend’s action by dropping back into the relegation zone.

The win was only what Newcastle deserved as they have not started as a team yet to win away in 2023.

They had the hosts on goal in the first 15 minutes and created two great opportunities to take the lead in the early stages.

They surely should have gone ahead in the sixth minute when a fine move down the right saw Jacob Murphy put his cross into a dangerous area and Joe Willock got in first, but fired his first shot well past under pressure from Serge Aurier.

Six minutes later they came within inches of scoring when a clever free-kick saw Kieran Trippier slot past Isak and the Swede’s shot deflected off Renan Lodi by Aurier and then under the crossbar.

Forest weathered the storm and took the lead in the 26th minute, although he came wrapped up by the visitors.

Sven Botman looked to be in control of Jonjo Shelvey’s long ball but passed to goalkeeper Nick Pope without looking and Dennis was there to intercept and score home in style for his first goal for Forest.

The hosts were enjoying a period of pressure, but Newcastle again hit the crossbar in the 35th minute.

Murphy stole possession from Lodi and strained Longstaff on the edge of the box and his shot was deflected off Felipe and onto the crossbar.

But in the end they had some luck with the woodwork as they found the perfect moment to equalize, with Isak making it 1-1 in first half added time.

With Forest calling for a free kick, Willock broke lines down the right and sent in a cross who was slightly behind Isak, but the striker produced a fine volley which went into the net from the post.

It was a spirited start to the restart and Newcastle were the aggressors again as half-time substitute Elliot Anderson nearly scored with his first meaningful touch, but Keylor Navas turned a vicious strike back.

Navas was again called into question when he deflected Bruno Guimaraes’ vicious shot as the visitor pressure mounted.

And Newcastle thought they had made it count in the 63rd minute when Anderson headed Isak’s cross at the far post ahead of a full range finish that went wild in celebration.

But it was short-lived as after the intervention of the VAR, Tierney ruled that Longstaff interfered with Lodi’s pass before the cross when he was in an offside position.

It was all Newcastle for the last 20 minutes as they looked for a winner and it finally came in added time when Niakhate’s raised arm made contact with the ball and Isak coolly converted from the spot.

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