Saturday, July 2, 2022

Forest achieve promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 1999

LONDON ( Associated Press) — Two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest return to the top flight of English soccer for the first time since 1999.

Forest beat Huddersfield 1-0 in the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday to secure a return to the Premier League next season.

Football’s most lucrative match — worth 170 million pounds ($215 million) in future broadcast money and guaranteed winnings — was settled with an own goal by Huddersfield defender Levi Colwill shortly before halftime.

Forest suffered a final scare when goalkeeper Brice Samba was injured and was replaced in the 89th minute by American Ethan Horvath, who made his first appearance since March 20 in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

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Huddersfield, who had two penalty appeals rejected in the second half, finished the regular season in third place, one place above Forest, as they battled for their first return to the Premier League since relegation in 2019.

Forest join champions Fulham and second-place Bournemouth in the Championship promotion shortlist.

Forest is a big name in English football, having won the European Cup in consecutive years, in 1979 and 1980, under manager Brian Clough.

But they fell on hard times, even becoming the first European Cup-winning team to fall to the third tier of a domestic league system.

Forest did it the hard way this season. The club were bottom of the table – with six defeats and a draw from their first seven games – when Steve Cooper took over in September and the former Swansea manager turned Forest’s fortunes around.

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