Nottingham Forest knocked holders Leicester out of the FA Cup as the Championship side powered to a shock 4-1 win, while Liverpool eased into the fifth round with a 3-1 victory against Cardiff yesterday.
Leicester’s disappointing season hit a new low with the dismal fourth round loss against their midlands rivals at the City Ground. Last season’s Wembley triumph against Chelsea was Leicester’s first ever FA Cup final victory, but that seemed a distant memory as their trophy defence ended with a whimper.
Bottom of the second tier when Steve Cooper took charge in September, Forest have been revitalised by the former Swansea boss and they destroyed Leicester with three goals in nine first half minutes. Forest will face fellow Championship side Huddersfield in only their second appearance in the FA Cup fifth round in 17 years.
Having climbed to eighth place in the Championship, Forest are also chasing a return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999. It is still some way from the glory days of Brian Clough, who led Forest to the English title in 1978 and two European Cups in 1979 and 1980. But Cooper’s men have provided their long-suffering fan base with hope that a return to relevance could be on the cards in the near future for one of English football’s sleeping giants.
Jurgen Klopp labelled Harvey Elliott’s goalscoring return in Liverpool’s win over Cardiff as a “fairytale” after five months out with a serious ankle injury. Elliott was introduced off the bench alongside new signing Luis Diaz after Diogo Jota’s header had opened the scoring early in the second half.
Diaz made an instant impact by teeing up Takumi Minamino to double Liverpool’s lead. But the biggest cheer was reserved for Elliott when he fired home on the volley 14 minutes from time. There were fears Elliott could be out for at least the rest of the season when he suffered a dislocated ankle against Leeds. Rubin Colwill pulled a goal back for the Bluebirds, but it is Liverpool who will meet Norwich at Anfield in the last 16.
Nottingham Forest’s Sam Surridge (centre) vies for the ball with Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi (left) and Caglar Soyuncu during the FA Cup match. (AFP)