Forest marks Premier League homecoming with West Ham win

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Nottingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Nottingham Forest celebrated their first Premier League home game in 23 years by beating West Ham 1-0 on Sunday.

The two-time European champions made 14 new signings in a bid to maintain their top-flight status and two of those who made their home debuts were the heroes as Taiwo Awoniyi scored the only goal and Dean Henderson saved Declan Rice’s penalty.

Forest had fortune on their side as the Hammers also had a first-half goal controversially ruled out and hit the underside of the crossbar twice after Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma broke.

But that mattered little to a crowd of 30,000 at the City Ground, which had the home side roaring from beyond the line.

West Ham have now lost their first two games of the season, but unlike a 2-0 loss to Manchester City last weekend, they should have taken at least a point back in London.

Benrahma’s cool finish on Rice’s pass was ruled out after a VAR review for a foul by Michail Antonio as he blocked Moussa Niakhate.

Along with almost £100million in transfer fees, Forest have been spending £200,000 a week to secure Jesse Lingard on a one-year deal.

Lingard had long been linked with a return to West Ham after a successful loan spell in the 2020/21 season.

And he was instrumental in the winner as his shot was blocked by Ben Johnson but bounced off Awoniyi’s knee.

With the exception of a Brennan Johnson goal which was ruled out by VAR for offside, it was the visitors who had all the major chances after the break.

Fornals smashed a crossbar effort in the second half before Benrahma did the same with a near-perfect free kick.

Rice had the best chance of all on the spot after Scott McKenna managed Tomas Soucek’s effort.

However, Henderson made himself an instant hero by diving low to his right to save the penalty.

Neco Williams needed a more desperate defense to clear Kurt Zouma’s header from the line late, but Forest held on for a famous victory.

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