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Reds breeze past Braga

15 July 2016

Nottingham Forest beat SC Braga 3-0 in a pre-season friendly this evening.

Henri Lansbury, Alex Iacovitti and Oliver Burke scored a goal each after the break to record an impressive victory over the Portuguese top-flight side.

Philippe Montanier played with a flat back four of Danny Fox, Thomas Lam, Matt Mills and Eric Lichaj, with captain Chris Cohen shielding the defence.

Ahead of them were central midfielders Matty Cash and Henri Lansbury, flanked on the left by Ben Osborn and on the right by Britt Assombalonga. Apostolos Vellios played up front.

The first chance of the match fell to Braga when Nikola Stojiljkovic received the ball in plenty of space just outside the area. Fox was well placed to block his shot.

Assombalonga saw a goal disallowed in last weekend’s behind-closed-doors friendly at Tottenham and the forward was to be denied by the officials once more. Lansbury picked Assombalonga out from a free-kick and he nodded the ball home, but the referee spotted an infringement.

Clear-cut chances were proving hard to come by in the opening exchanges. On 22 minutes, Vellios saw a shot blocked and Osborn couldn't beat Jose Marafona from a tight angle.

Ten minutes later, de Vries displayed good handling to deal with Ahmed Hassan's header. Forest broke away and Cash was cynically brought down by Andre Pinto, who was booked. Lansbury fired the free-kick over.

Half-chances followed for Cash and Vellios, the former making a strong run forward but failing to generate sufficient power on his shot, and the latter finding his shooting angle narrowed by the Braga keeper after being played into the area by Lansbury.

Braga ended the half strongly, Stojiljkovic being denied by de Vries before Luis Aguiar sent the ball just over the bar with a free-kick from 20 yards.

Montanier made no changes at half-time but Lansbury soon altered the scoreline. He received the ball from Cash 20 yards out and struck it low towards goal. It took a deflection, wrong-footing the keeper and rolling into the net.

Another Braga man found his way into the book for a rash tackle on Lichaj before changes abounded on 63 minutes, with everyone but Osborn making way for Forest. On came goalkeeper Jordan Smith, defenders Iacovitti, Joe Worrall, Jordan Gabriel and Jack Hobbs, midfielders Burke, Ryan Yates, Jamie Paterson and Jorge Grant and striker Lars Veldwijk.

Grant this week told Forest Player HD that he was looking to nail down a regular place in the first team, and he nearly made an immediate impact when he lashed the ball just over the bar from the edge of the area.

Worrall was the next man in the book when he committed a foul on 70 minutes, but it was his fellow academy graduate Iacovitti who claimed the limelight when he doubled The Reds' lead on 74 minutes. Gabriel showed lovely skill near the corner flag to free up some space and Forest worked the ball to Iacovitti, who had come forward from left back. The Scotland youth international picked his spot perfectly, stroking the ball low off the inside of the post and into the net.

Chidi went close for Braga and Paterson saw a nice run halted as the clock ticked down, but it was Burke who put the final flourish on an excellent Forest performance when he burst away down the right, evading a desperate lunge from the last defender, and nutmegged the keeper to make it 3-0.

FOREST STARTING X1: De Vries, Lichaj, Lam, Mills, Fox, Cohen, Lansbury, Cash, Osborn, Assombalonga, Vellios

Subs used: Smith, Iacovitti, Worrall, Gabriel, Hobbs, Ahmedhodzic, Burke, Yates, Paterson, Grant and Veldwijk

Myprotein are Nottingham Forest's official pre-season partner and are offering Forest fans a 15% discount on their products. For more information, please click here.

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