Alexander Isak’s double keeps Newcastle’s hopes of a top-four finish alive

Alexander Isak begins revealing why Newcastle paid £60m for him – PA/Nigel French

It may have taken some time to fully come to life but Alexander Isak is finally proving he can carry the weight of that record £60million fee.

Isak has always been scrutinized as the most expensive purchase for Newcastle with all their newfound wealth and although a slow burner it was another promising performance.

The Swede’s two goals gave Newcastle’s Champions League quest another huge boost, with his cool penalty three minutes into injury time being clear proof that a player thrives under pressure.

It was Newcastle’s first away win of the year and keeps them in contention for the top-4 as they finally snatch Nottingham Forest’s long unbeaten run at the City Ground.

Isak has struggled with injury since joining from Real Sociedad in August but is now fully fit and Newcastle are reaping the rewards.

While Newcastle left it very late, with the penalty awarded following a handball from Forest defender Moussa Niakhate, there was little doubt they deserved it.

The visitors created countless chances, hitting the woodwork twice and suffering a controversial var call before the late turn of the competition.

Isak found his goalscoring shoes as his double secured the points for Newcastle - Reuters/Carl Recine

Isak found his goalscoring shoes as his double secured the points for Newcastle – Reuters/Carl Recine

Newcastle are a point behind Tottenham in fifth with a game in hand. The only disappointment after an uplifting evening was the news that Miguel Almiron will miss the next six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury in training.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said: “Confidence is key for any attacking player and Alexander’s penalty was stone cold, it’s not easy to do that after the delay.

“He’s building up well to be a big influence on us. His two goals were very well scored and he was a constant threat throughout the night.

“Back-to-back wins are so difficult to come by in the Premier League and this feels like a big moment of our season.”

Forest have built their hopes of survival on an impressive home record and this was their first loss in ten league games, dating back to mid-September.

With their away form being so poor since promotion, there is now added pressure on Cooper’s players to score points in front of their own fans.

They’ve ridden their luck at home many times this season and they came so close to another heroic result here.

Evangelos Marinakis, the Forest owner, was reportedly “angry” at referee Paul Tierney’s performance, who failed to penalize a foul by Joe Willock on Andre Ayew seconds before Isak’s equaliser.

Forest head coach Steve Cooper said: “We would still be in a fight whatever happened here and we will do whatever it takes to stay above that relegation line.

“We are all bitterly disappointed, but we are all together and we will keep fighting.

“We are now going on an international break and that makes it doubly worse. Nothing can be resolved tonight.”

Emmanuel Dennis goal put Nottingham Forest ahead against the flow of play - Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths

Emmanuel Dennis goal put Nottingham Forest ahead against the flow of play – Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths

Newcastle were dominant from the start, in the first of four away games in five.

Forest almost gave them the opener after Isak found space in the box and his well-worn shot deflected heavily from Renan Lodi before bouncing off the bar.

It was a huge reprieve for Forest and then, out of nowhere, they scored in the 26th minute.

Newcastle centre-back Sven Botman’s poor back pass was destined for Nick Pope but Emmanuel Dennis was alert and was intercepted before slapping the ball around the keeper and over Kieran Trippier’s head.

The equalizer finally came in first-half injury time, Isak showing a great technique to kick in the corner.

Elliot Anderson made a clever second-half substitution and was denied his first goal at Newcastle in controversial circumstances.

Forest didn’t clear well enough and Isak’s cross at the far post was nodded home by the 20-year-old but was not accepted after a long delay.

Tierney reviewed the incident on his television monitor and concluded that Longstaff had been flagged for offside just before Isak’s cross.

It was a confusing call as it appeared two Forest players had played the ball before Longstaff took action.

Forest was clearly picked off and just when it looked like they were going to hold on, it came two minutes into stoppage time.

Under pressure from Isak, Niakhate handled Willock’s cross inside the box and Tierney immediately pointed to the spot. Isak made no mistake and turned Newcastle’s season around.

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *