Forest made ten changes to their squad to take on Premier League side Wolves. Bottom forest vs. wolves.
East Midlanders played a second team in the FA Cup defeat in Blackpool on Saturday. Steve Cooper recalled all the mainstays of his Premier League starting XI, including Dean Henderson, Renan Lodi, Morgan Gibbs-White, and Brennan Johnson.
Meanwhile, Wolves made six changes to the side that had performed so well in the FA Cup at Liverpool, when Goncalo Guedes, Raul Jimenez, and Hwang Hee-chan provided the attacking momentum.
Nottingham Forest beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 on damages in their League Cup last-eight match on Wednesday to get a cup semi-final for the first tour in over two decades. Forest keeper Dean Henderson earned the powerful save from Joe Hodge’s spot bang in the shootout after the competition had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes to dispatch his side to their rather semi since they called the League Cup final in 1992.
Willy Boly crashed after 18 minutes against his former club to give Forest the lead, transforming from tight range after an initial Serge Aurier step hit the woodwork and Wolves failed to clear.
Henderson was regularly called into motion to keep his side’s lead intact and made a fantastic string of close-range saves to restrict Raul Jimenez and Hwang Hee-chan before the interval as the Wolves accumulated pressure on the hosts.
They got their prize in the second half as Jimenez quickly drummed home at the back post after substitute Matheus Cunha recreated a well-timed ball across the face of the goal toward the Mexican.
Tempers frayed as the match neared the end of standard time. Wolves had a liability claim waved away after Matheus Nunes appeared to trip in the box. Aurier, Daniel Podence, Nunes, and Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui booked for their reactions.
Despite their power with 66% of the possession, Lopetegui’s men fell to find a way to win the match in the 90 minutes, and fine misses from Neves and Hodge in the shootout condemned them to defeat.
While the outcome delivered a moment of jubilation for Forest’s fans and players, their boss Steve Cooper felt his side should have achieved better across the 90 minutes.
“(I am) chuffed for the partners and players,” Cooper told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The purpose of the tie was to get through. I can’t say I loved our performance, and I shouldn’t be too cynical and won’t be.
“But we have to play much more useful than we did over extensive spells of the game. The game was there for us to bring the benefit of Wolves.”
Forest was defeated 4-1 by Championship flank Blackpool in the FA Cup on Saturday, and despite the implementation against Wolves, Cooper was pleased to see his side react nicely.
“I think Wolves were adequately on the night, and you have to appreciate that,” he said. “I felt on Saturday, we fell quick and got struck out, so it was important not to go out of two cup matches in a few days.”
Wolves were unbound by one of their former participants after Willy Boly put Forest forward inside 20 minutes when he executed the ball into the net from a matter of yards. Wolves grew into the game and were well on top in the second half when Raul Jimenez rotated Matheus Cunha’s cross home at the far post.
With the teams unfit to be paid after 90 minutes, the contest went to penalties. When Ruben Neves skipped his first kick, Wolves must score with their fifth to take it to sudden death as Joe Hodge strolled up to the mark, but the young midfielder saw his kick saved by Dean Henderson, shipping the keepers into the semi-finals.
With so many matches in such a short period, Lopetegui rotated his pack for a second in the sequence, bringing in six new starters than those who blazed up in the FA Cup at Anfield four days earlier.
It was one of those differences who had the best start of the game in gold and black as Hee-Chan Hwang got himself into a good work down the left, but the Korean launched into an offside position with Wolves getting bodies forward.
A scrappy beginning to the game saw Forest have most of the early chances, and it was Wolves Academy graduate Morgan Gibbs-White was behind most of them from the hosts. The midfielder was hitting a bunch of balls into the box, but the reds shirts were not screaming on the end of them.
That was until another ex-Wolves man died in the draw within the opening 20 minutes. After a junction was palmed onto the bar by Jose Sa, before being guided onto the woodwork by Rayan Ait-Nouri, Boly was there to drive the ball home from close range. The defender showed muted festivities against his former club as he ran back to his half after scoring.
Wolves grew into the half, and Forest obliged their goalkeeper to maintain their lead. Henderson did well to get down and assemble in Goncalo Guedes’ attempt from the edge of the box before the guests had several opportunities to level the scoreline.
Firstly, Henderson made an excellent stop to block Jimenez’s shot after the Mexican played in on goal following a clever one-two with Hwang. Although the rebound slipped to Guedes, he could descend and measure over the crossbar. The Forest proprietor had to be at his most valuable minutes later to palm Hwang’s image away from his net behind the Wolves striker and hit a sweetly battered volley on target.