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Nottingham Forest reach playoff final for last EPL spot

Nottingham Forest reach playoff final for last EPL spot


Nottingham Forest reached the Championship play-off final thanks to a penalty shootout win over Sheffield United.

They will face Huddersfield with the final spot in the English Premier League on the line.

With a 2-1 aggregate advantage, Forest lost the second leg by the same score tying the two teams on aggregate.

Brice Samba then saved three penalties for his side as they prevailed 3-2 in the shootout.

Brennan Johnson struck first for Nottingham Forest to give them a two-goal advantage in a tempestuous first half.

Morgan Gibbs-White then dented Forest’s defense with a finish early in the second half before Sam Baldock’s determined run and cross set up a John Fleck’s tap-in in the 75th minute.

The game-winning goal did not come for either side as the contest went to extra time.

Sheffield United almost pulled off a 4-3 win near the end of the additional minutes, but Samba’s outstretched left foot somehow denied Iliman Ndiaye from point-blank range.

Samba was then the hero in the shootout, saving efforts from Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane, and Gibbs-White.

Joe Lolley, who blazed his penalty over the bar, was the only Forest player to fail with his attempt as the hosts won 3-2 on spot-kicks.

They will now face Huddersfield in the playoff final with a spot in the EPL and 170 million pounds worth of incentives on the line.

Forest, two-time European Cup champions and winners of seven major domestic honors, haven’t been in the Premier League since 1999.

Despite suffering their worst start to a season since 1913 they are one win away from returning to England’s biggest stage.

Steve Cooper, since replacing Chris Hughton, has orchestrated a remarkable rise after he took over in September.

Forest collected a league-best 76 points to pull themselves into promotion contention during his reign.

They also managed to reach the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.

Forest and Huddersfield took three points apiece in their league meetings this season.

Huddersfield were promoted to the Premier League in 2017 after 45 years in the lower league, before getting relegated in 2019.

Fulham and Bournemouth have already qualified for the Premier League.