Dean Henderson the hero for Nottingham Forest in the shootout as Prem strugglers head to semi-finals

    DEAN HENDERSON produced two stunning penalty shoot-out saves to send Forest through to the semi-finals for the first time in three decades.

    But there was mayhem at the end when both sets of players allowed their emotions boil over and there was an ugly centre-circle bust-up between celebrating Forest players and their opponents.

    Nottingham Forest have made it to the Carabao Cup semi finals

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    Nottingham Forest have made it to the Carabao Cup semi finalsCredit: Reuters
    Dean Henderson made the winning save in the shootout for Nottingham Forest

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    Dean Henderson made the winning save in the shootout for Nottingham ForestCredit: Reuters
    Willy Boly fired Nottingham Forest into the lead

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    Willy Boly fired Nottingham Forest into the leadCredit: Reuters
    But Matheus Cunha set up Raul Jimenez to equalise for Wolves

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    But Matheus Cunha set up Raul Jimenez to equalise for WolvesCredit: Reuters

    Former Wolves man Morgan Gibbs-White and Adama Traore appeared to get involved and had to be separated before order was restored.

    It was a chaotic end to a chaotic cup tie which saw Raul Jimenez‘s equaliser cancel out Willy Boly’s opener to take the game straight to penalties after 90 minutes.

    Jose Sa brilliantly saved Sam Surridge’s first spot kick to give Wolves an early advantage.

    But Henderson immediately saved Ruben Neves‘ next attempt and the next seven penalties all ended up in the net.

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    That left 20-year-old Joe Hodge with Wolves’ crucial fifth penalty which Henderson brilliantly dived to his right to save.

    The Forest ‘keeper then taunted Wolves fans by placing both fingers in his ears as he hared off to celebrate.

    But Wolves, who had manager Julen Lopetegui booked, will again feel aggrieved at a refereeing injustice as they felt they should have had a late penalty – hard on the heels of their VAR controversy at Liverpool. 

    This pair of Midlands rivals were once formidable in this competition.

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    In the 15 years between 1978 and 1992 Brian Clough’s Forest appeared in six League Cup finals, winning four and finishing runners’-up twice.

    However you have to be a Forest fan of a certain vintage to remember those heady days because it’s been 29 long years since Forest last made it to this stage of the competition they once dominated.

    Wolves meanwhile had the bragging rights in 1974 and 1980 when they lifted the trophy – at Forest’s expense in the ’80 final.

    But for one night at least the class of 2023 both put their relegation worries to one side and let rip with a cracking cup tie which rolled back the years.

    Forest set out determined to make amends for their weekend FA Cup humiliation at the hands of Blackpool.

    And despite Wolves enjoying 68.7% of the early possession Forest made the most of theirs and opened the scoring after 18 minutes – with a move made at Molineux.

    Gibbs-White swept in a corner from the left which was flicked on by Serge Aurier at the front post.

    Morgan Gibbs-White also scored against his former side during the penalty shootout

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    Morgan Gibbs-White also scored against his former side during the penalty shootoutCredit: AFP

    The ball flew across the face of goal bounced off Jonny and another former Wolves man Willy Boly thrust out his right boot to knock the ball home from close range.

    Wolves were rocked but his back and it took three fantastic saves from Dean Henderson to keep the home side’s advantage intact.

    First he dived to his right to smother Goncalo Guedes’ low shot. Then he brilliantly beat out Raul Jimenez’s fiercely hit shot after the Mexican worked a 1-2 with Hwang.

    But the on loan Manchester United keeper saved the best until five minutes before half-time.

    Jimenez crossed and Hwang’s volley reared off the turf and hurtled towards the net.

    Somehow Henderson reached up his giant right glove and clawed the South Korean’s point blank effort to safety.

    It was a stunning stop and Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui tried to step up the pressure at the break sending on Ruben Neves for the out of touch Guedes as he switched to a back four.

    Gibbs-White tormented his former teammates with some fast-feet in the box but his cutback to Semedo came to nothing as the full-back’s drilled shot was blocked.

    Lopetegui made a double substitution just before the hour, sending on new signing Matheus Cunha and Daniel Podence for Ait Nouri and Moutinho.

    Steve Cooper is the first manager to get Forest to the semi-finals since 1992

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    Steve Cooper is the first manager to get Forest to the semi-finals since 1992Credit: AFP

    Unfortunately for Steve Cooper his change was forced as Willy Boly limped off to be replaced by Scott McKenna.

    And Wolves cashed in when they equalised after 64 minutes with a brilliantly worked goal.

    Nunes sent Cunha clear on the right and his low cross was gleefully slammed hime by Jimenez who had burst into the six yard box.

    Wolves were on top now but Forest threatened on the counter but sub Sam Surridge didn’t have the pace to go all the way.

    Forest were clinging on and Wolves had furious penalty claims waived aside three minutes from full-time.

    Emmanuel Dennis appeared to trod on Nunes’ heel inside the box, knocking his boot off in the process.

    But ref Graham Scott decided there was no contact.

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    As a melee broke out Neves raced to the official with Nunes boot and Lopetegui was booked for taking his protests too far.

    More drama was in store however as this epic tie spilled into it’s dramatic penalty shoot-out conclusion as Henderson produces more magic to send Forest into the semi finals.

    The teams clashed following the result of the game

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    The teams clashed following the result of the gameCredit: Getty

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