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Isak spot on as Toon boost hopes of top-four finish
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John Skilbeck
Stats Perform

Alexander Isak believes Newcastle can soar after the international break following his last-gasp winner at Nottingham Forest. 

The Swedish striker tucked away a late penalty to earn a 2-1 win at the City Ground, moving Newcastle to 47 points from 26 Premier League games.

They sit one point behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand and are five points better off than Liverpool.

Several of their players will disperse to represent their countries before the battle for a top-four finish resumes.

Emmanuel Dennis put Forest ahead in Friday's contest with a high-quality chip in the 26th minute but Newcastle drew level moments before half-time as Isak volleyed in Joe Willock's cross.

Toon's Elliot Anderson had a goal disallowed midway through the second half, with team-mate Sean Longstaff ruled to have been offside in the build-up.

It looked set to finish level, but a rash handball from Moussa Niakhate gave the visitors a stoppage-time penalty and Isak made no mistake with a confident strike from the spot.

Asked about the scrap for Champions League places, Isak said on Sky Sports: "We feel confident. We spoke about how it's very important to go into this break with a good feeling.

"Hopefully this will give us energy for when we come back."

He felt Newcastle "were not on it" in the first half and spoke in the dressing room about the need to step up their level.

Isak, who celebrated with the thousands of Newcastle fans who made the trip, said: "Those late winners are the best goals to score.

"We came out in the second half and changed our game and we played really well and we got rewarded as well."

It was Newcastle's first league win of the season after conceding the opening goal in a game, although at one point head coach Eddie Howe was concerned it might be "one of those nights".

When it was explained to Howe that the comeback feat was a first for his team in the competition this term, he said: "I think that's in part because we've been so good this season that we've led in a lot of games, but it's nice to be able to have that in your game."

Forest, in a relegation battle, have now lost 15 points from winning positions in the league this season, with only Bournemouth (17) and Leicester City (19) having lost more.

Howe was baffled by the decision to deny 20-year-old midfielder Anderson what would have been his first senior goal for Newcastle.

He added: "I couldn't believe it at the time.

"I'd need to be sat down and explained the rules on that one. I'm disappointed for Elliot because it would have been a massive moment in his career."


Premier LeagueNottingham ForestNewcastle United
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