Report: Forest 0 United 1

Wednesday 28 February 2024 21:59

An 89th-minute winner from Casemiro ensured Manchester United defeated Nottingham Forest 1-0 in a closely contested Emirates FA Cup fifth-round tie at The City Ground.

The experienced Brazilian midfielder diverted home a dangerous free-kick into the penalty area from Bruno Fernandes, just over a minute from the end of normal time, to spark jubilation behind the goal in the stand housing our away fans.

United will now advance to the last eight of the competition, where a mouthwatering Old Trafford meeting with Liverpool awaits on the weekend of 16/17 March, after the draw was conducted in the hour before our game in Nottinghamshire kicked off.

United learn FA Cup opponents


The draw for the quarter-final of the competition took place before our fifth-round win at Nottingham Forest.


United received a boost ahead of kick-off in the East Midlands, with Fernandes and Raphael Varane both fit enough to travel with the team and start the encounter, having been cast as pre-match doubts by Erik ten Hag in an interview with club media on Tuesday.

Fernandes was the architect of a huge early chance for United, following a short corner on the left. Our captain combined with Alejandro Garnacho before playing a low ball across the penalty area, which Antony struck against the crossbar with a first-time effort.

For his part in the move, Bruno was on the end of a hefty looking collision with former Reds team-mate Anthony Elanga, but saw off some initial pain to carry on as a fast start from United continued. Scott McTominay, connecting with a Diogo Dalot cross from the right, had a header from point-blank range saved by Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner.

At the other end, the home side's first real chance was crafted out via former Liverpool forward Divock Origi, shortly after. The Belgian had enough pace to get past Sofyan Amrabat, but his eventual shot on goal was tame, and stopped by Andre Onana.

Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi was sidelined for the recent league meeting between the teams - which Nuno Espirito Santo's side won 2-1 on the same pitch in December - but the Nigerian was fit this time and was keen to make his presence felt early on. Two strikes in a matter of minutes troubled the United goal, but the first was blocked by Victor Lindelof before the second was denied by Onana.

Neat play around the edge of Forest's penalty area sparked some life back into the contest just on from the half-hour mark, after it had settled into a rhythm following an eventful opening. Dalot burst down the right side of the box and flighted a ball centrally for McTominay, who again saw a headed attempt denied by Turner, this time somewhat spectacularly, springing to his left to claw it off target.

Despite the frequency of opportunities, neither team was truly on top as the first half drew towards a close, and the shared sequence of attempts at an opener showed that. The hosts went close via a scything shot from Neco Williams that drifted just wide of the goal, before Fernandes saw an effort blocked at the other end, having found himself in a yard of space inside the 18-yard area.

The half-time whistle was sounded shortly after by referee Chris Kavanagh, leaving the contest, which had to be decided on the night, evenly poised at the interval.

McTominay had the best of United's chances in the first half but was frustrated by Turner.


Awoniyi was the home side's biggest goal threat in the first half, and he maintained that status early in the second, testing Onana inside the opening four minutes of the half. A low effort from the edge of the penalty area needed the save from our goalkeeper, to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

Onana parried away a powerful left-footed attempt from Origi moments later, as United weathered an early second-half storm from Forest, before regaining some control before the hour point.

The Reds' advancements saw a 20-yard Antony snapshot caught by Turner, before Marcus Rashford had a penalty appeal refused. Our no.10 found himself sandwiched between centre-backs, Felipe and Murillo, as he drove into the box, and although there was contact, it was not judged to be enough for a foul by the referee.

A bumper contingent of travelling United fans packed into the Bridgford Stand, towards which the Reds attacked in the second half, and many would have been holding their breath as Fernandes produced an innovative outside-of-the-boot curler which narrowly evaded the goal in the 63rd minute.

Shortly after, the skipper would have been disappointed not to get a better contact on the ball, as he ran onto Antony's pass across the edge of the penalty area, which was dummied by Casemiro. Our no.8 struck it at goal, but centrally, and it was comfortably gathered by goalkeeper Turner.

Rashford and Casemiro both flashed strikes off target - the former from a rather acute left-sided angle - before Onana was called into action again. Our no.24 made sure a ferocious shot from Morgan Gibbs-White went over the bar, even if the offside flag went up shortly after.

The contest could have swung either way in the closing stages, but it was United who registered the decisive moment, with a little more than a minute of normal time left on the clock. A low Fernandes free-kick from the left flank bounced up off the City Ground turf and was met by the stooping head of Casemiro, who added enough pace to the delivery to get it beyond Turner.

A lengthy VAR check for offside followed, but the goal was awarded and the Reds saw out the subsequently lengthy period of stoppage time to secure a record 48th passage to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where we will meet Liverpool, following their victory over Southampton elsewhere on the evening.

There is not much better than a last-gasp winner in front of our fans!


Forest: Turner; Williams, Felipe, Murillo, Toffolo; Yates (c) (Reyna 90+3), Danilo (Ribeiro 90+4); Elanga, Gibbs-White, Origi (Hudson-Odoi 79); Awoniyi.

Unused substitutes: Vlachodimos, Niakhate, Omobamidele, Dominguez, Kouyate, Gardner. 

United: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Lindelof, Amrabat (Evans 90+4); McTominay (Mainoo 90+4), Casemiro; Antony (Amad 72), Fernandes (c), Garnacho; Rashford.

Unused substitutes: Bayindir, Kambwala, Ogunneye, Collyer, Eriksen, Forson.

Bookings: Lindelof 77.

Goals: Casemiro 89.