Leicester City’s hopes of retaining the FA Cup came to a brutal end in a 4-1 drubbing away to Midlands rival Nottingham Forest in the fourth round at a rocking City Ground on Sunday.
In the first clash between the clubs for eight years, a rampant Forest scored three times in 10 manic first-half minutes with Philip Zinckernagel, Brennan Johnson and Joe Worrall all punishing some flimsy Leicester defending.
Second-tier Forest’s buoyant fans were briefly silenced when Leicester grabbed a lifeline before half-time as Kelechi Iheanacho pounced on an error to score from an acute angle. But there was no stopping the host and it continued to dominate its supposed superior after the break and restored its three-goal margin when Djed Spence slotted home.
Forest has now beaten Arsenal, the FA Cup’s most successful club, and the holder in consecutive rounds and will be eyeing a quarterfinal place after being drawn to play Championship rival Huddersfield Town in round five.
To compound Leicester’s misery a fan from the away section ran on to the pitch as Forest’s players celebrated their third goal, landing punches before being dragged away. That ugliness aside it was a memorable day for Forest, and the competition, as a sell-out crowd roared it to a deserved win against a Leicester side which surrendered all too meekly.
Forest had already served notice of its intent in an evenly-balanced opening when Keinan Davis rattled the frame of the Leicester goal with a great effort. Steve Cooper’s side went ahead in the 23rd minute when the outstanding Johnson crossed to the far post, Davis headed back across goal and Zinckernagel reacted quicker than any Leicester defenders to bundle home.
Forest’s fans were still celebrating that when Leicester’s defence imploded again a minute later. This time a dreadful back pass by James Justin was intercepted by Johnson and he coolly slotted the ball past keeper Danny Ward.
When an unmarked Worrell met a corner and his header bounced beyond Ward to make it 3-0 in the 32nd minute the home supporters were in dreamland and it was all too much for one Leicester fan whose actions could have serious repercussions.
Forest keeper Brice Samba’s ill-advised decision to try and intercept a ball played forward left him stranded and he was punished by Iheanacho’s cool finish into an empty goal.
Leicester’s hopes of a second-half comeback never really looked realistic, though, and when Zinckernagel and Spence combined for the latter to fire home just past the hour mark the game was up for Brendan Rodgers’s side.
- Nottingham Forest 4 (Zinckernagel 23’, Johnson 24’, Worrall 32’, Djed Spense 61’) Leicester City 1 (Iheanacho 40’)