March 31, 2023
Isak says goodbye to Newcastle in sight of the top four in the Premier League

Isak says goodbye to Newcastle in sight of the top four in the Premier League

Alexander Isak said Newcastle believe they will seal a place in next season’s Champions League after the Swede scored twice, including a stoppage-time penalty, to beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 on Friday.

The win lifts the Magpies to one point behind fourth-place Tottenham, and with one game left for Spurs.

“We believe and we know that we have it in our own hands and we have a good chance,” Isak said after Newcastle went into the international break with back-to-back wins.

“It’s important that we’ve come into this break feeling good with two wins in two games.”

The defeat was Forest’s first at home in the league since September and leaves Steve Cooper’s men still two points above the relegation zone.

“It’s always the worst way to lose, in the last few minutes, after you’ve fought in the game,” Cooper said. “We made some bad football decisions around goal setup and that’s something we can only blame ourselves for.”

Newcastle ended a nearly two-month wait for a Premier League win last weekend by beating Wolves and went flying at the City Ground.

But the closest the visitors came to turning their early dominance into an advantage was when Renan Lodi turned Isak’s cross off his own crossbar.

Instead, it was Forest who went completely against the grain of the game thanks to a howl from Sven Botman.

The Dutch centre-back has been a major factor in Newcastle’s success this season, but his pass attempt to goalkeeper Nick Pope was intercepted by Emmanuel Dennis, who produced a stunning chipped finish for his second Forest goal.

The crossbar came to the rescue again when Sean Longstaff’s deflected shot from the edge of the box bounced off the woodwork.

Newcastle finally got their reward in first half stoppage time when club record signing Isak acrobatically sent Joe Willock’s cross to the post.

The pattern of play continued after the break when the Magpies besieged the Bosque goal.

Former Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas had to be at his best to take advantage of powerful shots from Elliot Anderson and Bruno Guimaraes.

Anderson then thought he had his first senior goal when he headed Isak’s cross into the far post.

However, the goal was controversially disallowed after a VAR check for offside against Longstaff in the build-up despite the ball breaking through a Forest player’s midfielder.

Just when Forest looked ready to hold on for a precious point in their battle to beat the knockdown, Moussa Niakhate raised his hand unnecessarily to block Isak’s meek header.

The Swedish international’s debut season in England was marred by injury, but he showed his class by keeping his head to get past Navas and sparking wild scenes of celebration among the away fans.

“It’s a great win and I thought we deserved it,” Howe said.

“Coming back is always a great way to win and the character shown in the group is very nice.”


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