Nottingham Forest 0-2 Manchester City: Haaland nets on injury return

Erling Haaland marked his return from injury with a goal to seal victory for Manchester City, ensuring they remain a point behind Arsenal with a game in hand over the Gunners.

Joško Gvardiol forced the breakthrough in the first half against a spirited Nottingham Forest side, and the hosts were perhaps unlucky not to restore parity before Haaland wrapped up the win to keep City’s hopes of a record-breaking fourth consecutive Premier League title alive.

As it happened

Sunday’s trip to the City Ground was by no means a comfortable outing for the Cityzens, who knew they needed to match Arsenal’s earlier result against Tottenham and record three points to keep their title hopes alive.

Pep Guardiola’s men took the lead shortly after the half-hour mark when a Kevin de Bruyne corner was nodded home at the near post by Joško Gvardiol, with Nottingham Forest temporarily down to ten men as Neco Williams required treatment for an injury.

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Nottingham Forest forced a plethora of chances throughout the match, with Chris Wood squandering golden opportunities: the forward first headed over the bar, then failed to slot home from a Gonzalo Montiel cutback before finally directing a tame strike into the arms of Stefan Ortega, who replaced the injured Ederson at the interval.

Ortega was not the only half-time change for Guardiola’s side, with Jérémy Doku taking an early shower to allow Mateo Kovačić to slot into midfield in a bid to assert control of the match.

But it would be Erling Haaland, returning from a short injury-enforced absence, who would leave his mark on the match. Less than ten minutes into his cameo appearance, the Norwegian slotted into the bottom-left corner to seal a crucial victory against a spirited Nottingham Forest side.

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Despite suffering defeat at the City Ground, there were plenty of signs of encouragement for Nuno Espirito Santo – who will hope that his side can turn a positive performance against the reigning champions into momentum, as they remain just a point above the drop zone with three games left to play.

The lineups

NFO: Sels; Aina, Niakhaté, Murillo, Boly, Williams; Hudson-Odoi, Gibbs-White, Danilo, Elanga; Wood

MCI: Ederson; Gvardiol, Aké, Akanji, Walker; Rodri; Grealish, Bernardo, de Bruyne, Doku; Álvarez