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Ryan Yates downs Huddersfield as Nottingham Forest earn Liverpool tie | FA Cup

This pulsating tie was contested in a vibrant atmosphere and closed with Nottingham Forest ending Huddersfield’s 18-game unbeaten run and claiming the prize of welcoming Liverpool here for a quarter-final.

It will be the first meeting between the teams in the FA Cup since the rescheduled semi-final tie in 1989 which was played at Old Trafford, following the tragic events at Hillsborough.

After Forest defeated Arsenal and Leicester in previous rounds, Jürgen Klopp’s team are in for a fight before what will be another raucous crowd here. For Steve Cooper, a former Liverpool youth team coach, and his side, the tie is just reward for emerging as worthy victors against opponents who took the lead.

Cooper believes his team can knock out the Premier League’s second-placed side. “We go into every game thinking this but for me it’s all about Reading on Saturday,” the manager said. “The reason being because we are building a mentality here and it has to be about every day. I said to the players in the dressing room – enjoy this but then it’s Reading.”

Forest are ninth in the Championship, three points from a play-off berth, as Cooper bids to restore them to the top flight for the first time since 1999. This is a club with a proud history that boasts one league title, two consecutive European Cup triumphs, four League Cup wins and two FA Cup triumphs – in 1898 and 1959.

In the bid for a third, Forest threatened Jamal Blackman’s goal first via a Sam Surridge shot. This was deflected and while James Garner’s corner yielded nothing the latter, on loan from Manchester United, was a class act. A swivelling turn that ended with the midfielder unloading at Blackman, who gathered, was his next contribution as Cooper’s men were a blur of attacking intent, dabbing the ball about impressively.

Surridge, on his full debut after signing in January, beat Blackman. It was ruled offside and though it appeared a legal strike, as there was no VAR in play a second look was not possible. So far, all Forest but Huddersfield scored via a cute corner routine. Taken from the right, it featured a phalanx of players grouping beyond the far post who acted as a decoy; when Danel Sinani hit the ball in, Tom Lees found space at the near post and headed home. Cue delirium from the travelling support, the strike a body blow Forest had to respond to. They did – supremely as, first, along their right, Garner and Djed Spence punched in balls that those in navy blue scrambled to repel.

One Nottingham Forest fan brought a cardboard cutout of manager Steve Cooper along.
One Nottingham Forest fan brought a cardboard cutout of manager Steve Cooper along. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Carlos Corberán, formerly Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team coach at Leeds, has fashioned Huddersfield into a high-pressing team and it had Forest penned in at times, having to move the ball around slickly to escape, and this smoothness was evident in their excellent equaliser. The ball went upfield quickly, suddenly Ryan Yates was inside Huddersfield’s area and, when Naby Sarr tackled him, there was Surridge to rocket home.

It had the City Ground bouncing, the wall of noise invigorating. Huddersfield should have again pushed ahead when Carel Eiting blazed at Ethan Horvath’s goal but hit a post and as Duane Holmes tried to scoop in the rebound Forest’s keeper leaped from the turf to save.

Breathlessly, the entertainment moved on via an instalment that had Forest taking the lead: Surridge claimed a free-kick along the left, Garner lifted it into the area and Yates rose to head beyond Blackman.

Quick Guide

FA Cup quarter-finals: kick-off times and TV coverage

Show

Middlesbrough v Chelsea Sat 19 March, 5.15pm (BBC One)
Crystal Palace v Everton Sun 20, 12.30pm (ITV)
Southampton v Manchester City Sun 20, 3pm (BBC One)
Nottingham Forest v Liverpool Sun 20, 6pm (ITV)

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At the break Forest knew if they held on for the next 45 minutes Liverpool would be next. The teams continued to hurtle at each other – a home move claiming a free-kick that Garner again delivered from the left but Forest could not apply the finish.

Moments later Spence seemed poised to test Blackman but Harry Toffolo made the vital challenge. Cooper, in the technical area, was a fidgeting image of nerves while Corberán was cooler, trusting his team to create something. A Sinani free-kick was one chance but Horvath was able to beat it away and Forest escaped. Danny Ward hit another dead ball around the wall but Horvath, diving right, again saved.

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At the other end, heart rates quickened when Spence had a golden chance to kill Huddersfield off but his attempt flew skywards. It was not costly: Forest ended in pell-mell mode, launching raids that stifled any threat of a late equaliser and extra time.

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