Soccer-Everton grab 2-0 victory over Forest to boost survival hopes

Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Nottingham Forest - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2024 Everton's Idrissa Gueye scores their first goal REUTERS/Peter Powell

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) -Everton secured three crucial points when they beat relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest 2-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday to improve their own Premier League survival hopes and move five points clear of the drop zone.

With Everton and Forest being docked eight and four points respectively for financial breaches, Everton are 16th in the standings with 30 points, having played one game fewer than Forest, who sit four points below in 17th place.

Forest were furious at being denied three penalty claims and issued a strongly worded complaint on social media immediately after the game.

There was little to separate the two sides in the opening minutes, but the hosts stepped up the pace and were rewarded in the 29th minute when Idrissa Gueye's clinical strike from outside the box found the bottom corner past Forest goalkeeper Matz Sels.

It was the Senegal international's first goal for Everton since 2017.

Dwight McNeil doubled their advantage in the second half with a low shot from distance.

Everton, who suffered a 6-0 hammering at Chelsea on Monday, showed much better fight against Forest, who looked threatening on several occasions but were denied by the home side's diligent defence.

Everton's Portuguese striker Beto was carried off on a stretcher in added time due to a head injury. The club said he had been taken to hospital as a precaution.

"It's too early from a medical perspective, but the early signs are very good. He had come around and he was speaking to the physios and the medical team so that's good news at this early stage," Everton manager Sean Dyche said.

The Forest camp were angry at being denied three penalty claims, all against Ashley Young after the Everton fullback knocked the foot of Giovanni Reyna, followed by a handball claim and a challenge on Callum Hudson-Odoi in the box.

The club issued a statement on social media platform X accusing the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) of being a Luton Town fan. Luton are one place and one point below Forest in the standings.

"Three extremely poor decisions -- three penalties not given -- which we simply cannot accept," Forest said.

"We warned the PGMOL (referees' association) that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn't change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times.

"NFFC will now consider its options."

Reuters has contacted the PGMOL for a comment.

Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo last month expressed his frustration over the VAR after another refereeing decision went against his side in their 1-0 league defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Everton have been charged twice this season for Profit and Sustainability Rules violations. Earlier this month, the Merseyside club said they had lodged an appeal against a two-point deduction handed out on April 8. Forest have also lodged an appeal against their four-point deduction.

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon and Toby Davis)

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