Boateng rescues an improbable point for Forest
Nottingham Forest 2 Leicester City 2
Sunday 21 August 2011
For so long in this battle of wits between Fabio Capello's two predecessors at the England helm it was much more Croatia at Wembley than Germany in Munich for Steve McClaren.
Nottingham Forest were booed off at half-time and still two down when Kasper Schmeichel bizarrely contrived to get himself sent off after a borderline Matt Mills handling offence and a penalty that halved the deficit only 11 minutes from time. The keeper was booked for moving the ball on the spot before being beaten by Lewis McGugan's low kick and then yellow-carded again when he retrieved the ball from his net and hurled it almost to the touchline in disgust; a couple of "blond" moments if ever there were.
Neverthless, just as Sven Goran Eriksson was about to celebrate Leicester City's first League victory at the ground for 39 years, salvation for Forest came four minutes into stoppage time.
Again there was goalkeeper error as the substitute Chris Weale misjudged Chris Cohen's centre and allowed George Boateng to bundle in an equaliser that completed an improbable comeback.
Eriksson said: "The penalty and sending-off changed everything. I'm not going to make excuses for my goalkeeper, but he said he hadn't seen the first yellow card. I think he has apologised to the team."
Eriksson's one-time England assistant was relieved his side were not further adrift at the break.
There was irony in the fact that the opening goal – and a hand in the second – came from David Nugent, the forward who received his solitary international cap, in 2007, from McClaren.
He scored then against Andorra and could hardly miss here when Gelson Fernandes brilliantly punished an errant pass by Jonathan Greening and squared unselfishly for the striker to turn into what was literally an empty net.
Leicester had threatened well before that 18th minute breakthrough through Nugent and Sol Bamba, who both brought smart saves from Lee Camp, and quickly built on it thanks to more nightmare defending. This time it was the skipper Luke Chambers who blundered in, allowing Neil Danns to play a one-two with Nugent and shape a shot goalwards. Chris Gunter cleared brilliantly from the line, only to see the impressive Fernandes dispatch the rebound.
It was the perfect antidote for a side smarting after two home defeats and McClaren admitted: "It looked an impossible situation at half-time. We looked like we hadn't played together all pre-season."
Then, long after an awful headed miss by Matt Derbyshire, came the sting in the tail.
Nottingham Forest (4-3-3): Camp; Moloney (Majewski, 65), Morgan, Chambers, Gunter; Greening, Boateng, McGugan; Cohen, Derbyshire (Miller, HT), McGoldrick (Findley, HT).
Leicester City (4-1-3-2): Schmeichel; Pantsil, Mills, Samba, Konchesky; Wellens; Fernandes, King (Abe, 84), Danns (Weale, 80); Vassell, Nugent (Gallagher, 65).
Referee Jonathan Moss.
Man of the match Fernandes (Leicester City).
Match rating 8/10.
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