Forest boosts EPL survival hopes with 1-1 draw vs Chelsea | Soccer

Forest boosts EPL survival hopes with 1-1 draw vs Chelsea | Soccer

NOTTINGHAM, England (AP) — Nottingham Forest gave their Premier League survival hopes a boost with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, whose problems on the road continued on Sunday.

Forest have beaten Liverpool and Tottenham at the City Ground this season and put in an impressive performance against the 2021 European champions.

After falling behind in Raheem Sterling’s opener for Chelsea against the run of play, the hosts produced a fine second-half display which was rewarded with Serge Aurier’s equalizer just after the hour mark.

Forest arguably deserved to win as Morgan Gibbs-White hit the crossbar but it will give Steve Cooper’s side a big boost in their bid to beat the drop this season.

Chelsea have at least avoided a fourth defeat in a row, but it will take a huge improvement to close the seven-point gap to the top four.

Forest’s impressive performance was marred by some Forest fans’ alleged homophobic chanting towards the traveling support.

Forest, who beat Liverpool in the league in October and Spurs in the English League Cup in November, troubled Chelsea with their pace from the start.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced into two saves as Gibbs-White played Brennan Johnson on goal, but his first shot was saved well by the visiting keeper, with the follow-up effort easier to muster.

Forest were ahead when they fell behind in the 16th minute.

Christian Pulisic had too much space to enter a cross, which Willy Boly made a mess trying to clear and he looped over Dean Henderson and off the crossbar. Sterling was eagerly waiting to fire home the rebound for his first Premier League goal since August.

Despite the lead, Graham Potter’s side were not dominating, although the visitors made the best effort on goal with Cesar Azpilicueta seeing a deflected effort go just wide, while Pulisic fired a straight shot at Henderson.

Forest started the second half well and had a chance just four minutes away. Johnson ran clear down the right and a square ball to Taiwo Awoniyi seemed like the best option, but he opted to shoot instead and Kepa was right up there with a low save.

A deserved leveler came in the 63rd from an unlikely source as Aurier scored his first goal since January 2021. Chelsea failed to clear a corner and the former Tottenham defender controlled Boly’s header with his chest, then hit home.

Forest could not create clearer chances and had to settle for a point which leaves them in the relegation zone on goal difference immediately behind 17th-placed West Ham.

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