Nottingham Forest Captain Ryan Yates Speaks Out on the Controversy Around Darwin Nunez’s Late Winning Goal at City Ground

Nottingham Forest captain Ryan Yates expressed his bewilderment regarding the controversy surrounding Liverpool’s decisive late goal against his team last Saturday.

Yates emphasised his confusion at the sequence of events that led to Liverpool gaining possession, courtesy of referee Paul Tierney’s decision, ultimately resulting in Darwin Nunez’s game-winning goal in the 99th minute.

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The incident unfolded when Ibrahima Konate fell inside the Liverpool penalty area during a Forest corner, appearing to sustain a head injury after contact with goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. Despite some camera angles suggesting contact between Konate and Yates, Tierney allowed Kelleher to initiate a Liverpool attack with an uncontested restart.

This decision deviated from the protocol, as Forest should have regained possession with Callum Hudson-Odoi controlling the ball near the corner flag. Instead, Kelleher’s restart led to a Liverpool corner, and Nunez’s deft flick from Alexis Mac Allister’s pass secured victory after Forest failed to clear the ball.

The controversial turn of events elicited protests from Forest fans and players alike, with vocal dissent evident at the final whistle.

Reports indicate that Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis sought to confront Tierney after the match, underscoring the severity of the situation. Additionally, the club’s newly-appointed referees’ analyst, Mark Clattenburg, confirmed their intention to escalate the matter to the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited).

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And Yates said: “The referee told me: ‘That’s the rule, they get the ball.’ I honestly don’t know how that is possible. We were in the ascendancy. We had a corner. There was just a coming together and we were going to put another ball into the box.

“Then, suddenly, while we’re switched off, they’re allowed to get the ball to the other end of the pitch and put us under pressure. It’s strange, very strange. We’ve to to use it to drive us on. I think we have to. We’ve got no choice. We need to start picking up points.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said of the incident: “It happened exactly the same in the first half, didn’t it? It was exactly the same, just the other way around, right? If it wouldn’t have happened in the first half, I would have asked a question as well. But I would now assume that’s the rule.

“I don’t know to be 100 per cent sure because it happened twice and twice it got handled exactly the same. So, I don’t really see the reason for the discussions because that’s it and I don’t know how many passes we had to play to arrive there and score the goal.

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“But I understand 100 per cent the excitement and the anger and stuff like this of Nottingham, of course. They fight for everything and I understand that, but I think with the particular situation where it was twice the same then I would say that’s consistent.”

According to IFAB laws, Tierney made the correct decision to award Forest possession of the ball in the first half when Yates fell holding his head after being struck by Harvey Elliott’s shot. Forest rightfully gained possession as the incident occurred in the box when the whistle was blown.

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