Blackburn 1 – 4 N Forest

Blackburn 1 – 4 N Forest

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Nottingham Forest reached the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 1994 with a comfortable 4-1 win over Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Wales international Brennan Johnson scored twice on his return from the World Cup, while Jesse Lingard and Taiwo Awoniyi also scored.

Johnson fired the visitors forward when he delivered a clean penalty in the opening minutes after being brought inside by Scott Wharton and the Premier League side could have had a few more if Rovers goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was in would have made five saves in the first half.

Wharton made up for the premature penalty with a header and equalized at the break for Blackburn.

Image: Brennan Johnson scored twice for Nottingham Forest

Lingard restored the visitors’ lead with a deflected free-kick and the visitors scored twice in the last 10 minutes to put Forest in the last eight.

The Reds looked the better of the two sides on their return to competition for the first time since November 12 and Johnson had the first chance of the game five minutes later when he was released with an acre of space down the right but his Efforts drilled directly at Pears.

The Blackburn keeper was forced into a second save two minutes later when Awoniyi tapped a close-range shot straight at him, while Johnson proved to be the living wire in the opening minutes.

The visitors were awarded a penalty 13 minutes into the encounter as Johnson proved too quick for Wharton’s late challenge. He scrambled to his feet and sent Pears the wrong way to give Forest a 1-0 lead.

Nottingham Forest's Brennan Johnson celebrates after taking a penalty against Blackburn Rovers

Picture: Nottingham Forest’s Johnson celebrates after scoring a penalty

The visitors got back in front but they found Pears in fine form as he fended off further efforts from Orel Mangala and Neco Williams.

The Rovers made Forest pay for their missed chances and scored an unlikely equalizer a minute before the break when brother Scott licked in an Adam Wharton free-kick with a home look to level the matter.

Eight minutes after the break, Lingard restored the visitors’ advantage when he was brought down by Scott Wharton and his low free-kick hit the net thanks to some deflections which wrong-footed Pears.

The Reds were keen to end the game but an inspired Pears was ready to ward off further efforts from Lingard, Awoniyi and Rob Worrall before scrambling over his goal to scrape Johnson’s header from crossing the line.

Forest finally ended the tie with just over 10 minutes to go when Lingard slipped through Awoniyi to finish cool and Johnson’s probing attempt with the final kick of the game made it four to knock the championship side out of contention.

What next for Blackburn and Nottingham Forest?

Blackburn travels to Sunderland on Boxing Day in the Championship; Kick-off 12.30pm, live on InNewCL Sports Football.

Forest, meanwhile, travel to Old Trafford to continue their Premier League campaign against Manchester United on December 27; Kick-off 8 p.m.

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