Live Commentary: Nottingham Forest 3-1 Newcastle United – as it happened

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Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole‘s live text coverage of the EFL Cup second round clash between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United at The City Ground.

The hosts come into this match still boasting an unbeaten record this season, although four of their five Championship outings so far have ended in draws.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are still searching for their first victory of the 2018-19 campaign having amassed just one point from their opening three Premier League outings.

Make sure you don’t miss a moment of the action courtesy of our minute-by-minute updates below.


6.45pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight’s EFL Cup clash between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United at The City Ground!

The second round got off to a typically action-packed start last night with goals galore and a few shocks too boot, and Forest will be looking to pull off another here at the expense of Rafael Benitez‘s Newcastle.

It is a clash between an unbeaten side and a winless side in terms of the 2018-19 campaign so far, but that only tells half of the story.

I will tell the rest of it in a short while, but first let’s check out the team news…

6.47pmNOTTINGHAM FOREST STARTING XI: Steele; Byram, Hefele, Fox, Robinson; Bridcutt, Watson, Lolley, Carvalho, Dias; Murphy

6.47pmNOTTINGHAM FOREST SUBS: Pantilimon, Figueiredo, Osborn, Cash, Goncalves, Darikwa, Appiah

6.49pmNEWCASTLE STARTING XI: Darlow; Sterry, Schar, Fernandez, Clark; Atsu, Ki, Longstaff, Kenedy; Muto, Joselu

6.49pmNEWCASTLE SUBS: Elliot, Yedlin, Dummett, Diame, Murphy, Perez, Rondon

6.51pmNo back five for Newcastle this time around, then!

The much-debated system has been disposed of, as expected, by Benitez for tonight’s match as he switches back to his usual formation – albeit with a number of personnel changes, as is customary in this competition now.

Benitez makes seven from the weekend defeat to Chelsea, with Schar, Fernandez, Clark and Ki the only players to keep their places in the side.

6.53pmOne of the more notable inclusions is Kenedy, who scored against Forest for Chelsea when tonight’s hosts were eliminated from this competition last season.

The loanee winger was ineligible to face his parent club at the weekend, which means that tonight is his first change to banish the memories of his horror show against Cardiff the week before.

Kenedy failed to complete a single pass in the first half in South Wales, should have been sent off in that opening 45 minutes and then missed a 96th-minute penalty which would have won his side the match. It was a performance labelled by many as one of the worst individual displays in Premier League history.

Chelsea loanee Kenedy in action for Newcastle United during his side's Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion on April 28, 2018© Reuters

6.55pmHayden was sent off in that Cardiff match and remains suspended for this one, while the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, and Jamaal Lascelles are also sidelined through injury – not due to a dispute with Benitez, if the Spaniard is to be believed.

Lascelles was reportedly involved in a training-ground bust-up with Matt Ritchie in the wake of the defeat to Chelsea, though, so the skipper has certainly been in the news for the wrong reasons lately. Forest are his former club, but he has not recovered from an ankle problem in time to feature tonight.

6.57pmJoselu does get a start after coming off the bench to score a really good header against Chelsea, and he will be joined in attack by Muto this evening.

The likes of Darlow, Sterry, Atsu and Longstaff also come into the starting lineup, with Dubravka, Yedlin, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Murphy and Rondon all dropping out.

6.59pmAs for Nottingham Forest, they are once again without Lewis Grabban and Michael Dawson as both players failed to recover from injury in time for this match, having also missed Saturday’s draw with Birmingham.

Jack Colback is another potentially-key player who misses out for the home side this evening as he is currently on loan from Newcastle and is ineligible to play against his parent club.

7.01pmColback is replaced by Joe Lolley in the starting lineup this evening, which is one of five changes made by manager Aitor Karanka from the weekend draw with Birmingham.

Costel Pantilimon is replaced in goal by Steele, while the likes of Hefele, Bridcutt and Carvalho also come into the side alongside Lolley. Not wholesale changes, but enough to keep the team fresh.

7.03pmKaranka has actually made more changes from the first-round contest with Bury than he has from the weekend match against Birmingham, with six players coming in from the team that got them through to this stage of the competition.

There are four players to have featured from the start in that shootout victory over Bury, the weekend draw with Birmingham and again tonight, and those are Byram, Robinson, Watson and Murphy.

7.05pmThe latter of those could be Nottingham Forest’s key man tonight, and he could have a point to prove as well having spent one season – and only one season – as a Newcastle player in 2016-17.

Murphy averaged a goal every three games during that time – six in 18 appearances – but coming into this match he has two goals in his last three appearances.

7.07pmthe belief will certainly be high amongst the Nottingham Forest fans that they can claim the scalp of a Premier League team this evening, with a number of factors pointing in their direction.

Home advantage can, of course, be a major thing in these cup competitions, and in addition to that there is also the headline of Forest coming into the game unbeaten so far this season, whereas Newcastle are winless in the 2018-19 campaign.

7.09pmIt is a true headline, but one which doesn’t quite tell the full story. We will talk about Newcastle a little later, but while Forest are unbeaten unbeaten in their five Championship matches – and six games across all competitions this season – it isn’t exactly a vintage run of form.

Forest may be one of only five Championship teams yet to taste defeat, but four of their five league outings so far have ended in draws and that leaves them in the bottom half of the table – behind plenty of teams who have lost this term.

7.11pmForest’s only win of the campaign so far came at home to Reading, with their other four matches yielding score draws against Bristol City, West Brom (both 1-1), Wigan and Birmingham (both 2-2).

The most recent of those was a dramatic affair against Birmingham on Saturday, when Forest needed two goals in the final 15 minutes to rescue a point. Lolley and Murphy provided them – the latter in the 87th minute – to overcome their two-goal deficit.

7.13pmForest actually drew in the first round of this competition too, making it five draws from six games across all competitions this season, although they had the benefit of a penalty shootout against League Two Bury.

It was by no means straightforward; Bury took the lead after only two minutes and held that advantage away from home for longer than 90 minutes until Matty Cash equalised three minutes into injury time. The game went straight to penalties, but that was by no means the end of the drama as it took 22 spot kicks to separate them, with Forest finally running out 10-9 winners.

7.15pmIncluding that result, Forest are now unbeaten in their last seven competitive home matches, winning three of those and drawing four (counting the Bury match as a draw).

It is a run which stretches back to April 10, while their defeat to Brentford on that date is their only home loss in their last 11 such outings – a significant improvement on their run prior to that.

7.17pmForest had a very mixed home record in the Championship last year, with 10 wins, three draws and 10 defeats from their 23 outings, and their record in this competition is not too encouraging either.

Forest have only won two of their last 11 EFL Cup home games inside normal time, with five of those either going to extra time – which is no longer an options due to rule changes this year – or penalties. Their last two have ended in victory, though, including that shootout win over Burnley in the first round.

7.19pmThe Tricky Trees have lost their last seven EFL Cup home games against Premier League opposition, most recently a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal in 2016-17.

However, their overall record in this competition is comparable to some of the Premier League’s very best, having lifted the trophy four times before. Only Liverpool, Manchester United, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester City have ever won the trophy more, although Forest’s last triumph came in 1989-90.

7.21pmThe 1989-90 season may seem like a long time ago, but Newcastle must be envious of Forest for having such recent success as they once again begin the quest to end a long, long wait for major silverware.

Since Newcastle last picked up a major trophy – the FA Cup in 1955 – Forest have won the top-flight title and two European Cups, not to mention a few other trophies. It really is a surprisingly long wait for a team with such a big fanbase which has been in the top flight for the vast majority of that time.

7.23pmIt almost goes without saying, then, that Newcastle have never got their hands on this trophy – although they did reach the final once, when they lost 2-1 to Manchester City at Wembley in 1975-76.

Tonight marks the beginning of their latest hope that they can go one better this time around, although a year ago their journey was ended at the first hurdle by the very team they find themselves up against tonight.

7.25pmShould the Magpies fall to a second-round defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest for the second year in a row then it would be the first time that they have been absent for the third-round draw two seasons on the bounce in 34 years.

Indeed, the last time that occured, they had failed to make it that far in seven successive campaigns from 1977-78 to 1983-84.

7.27pmNewcastle do come into this match still looking for their first win of the season, though, having amassed only one point from their opening three games of the season – although it does need to be mentioned that they have been handed a very difficult start.

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea were the opponents in their opening two home games of the campaign, and they fought admirably in both only to succumb to 2-1 defeats on each occasion. Lady Luck seemed to abandon them too, with Spurs awarded a goal by goalline technology when the ball had crossed the line by a matter of millimetres, while against Chelsea they lost to a very soft penalty and an unfortunate own goal.

7.29pmIn fairness, anything they got from that Chelsea game would have been an almighty smash-and-grab job, with Benitez’s defensive tactics heavily criticised by pundits after the match.

Benitez offered no apologies despite seeing his side have only 19% possession and complete a whopping 700 passes fewer than their opponents, and but for some bad luck his controversial approach to the game could well have paid off.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is a little teapot on August 26, 2018© Reuters

7.31pmPerhaps the most frustrating result of the lot so far was the goalless draw with Cardiff, though. The Magpies drew 0-0 with the newly-promoted Bluebirds which, while being a decent point considering they had a man sent off, could also be viewed as two points dropped considering they missed a 96th-minute penalty.

Things get no easier for the Magpies either; they face Manchester City at the Etihad this weekend before taking on Arsenal in their first game back after the international break.

7.33pmAs things stand, Newcastle’s only point of the season has come away from home, but they have still only won one of their last 10 competitive away games stretching all the way back to New Year’s Day.

The Magpies have struggled for goal in the latter stages of that run too, netting just once in their last four away outings across all competitions.

7.35pmPREDICTION: Right, we’re 10 minutes away from kickoff at The City Ground, which means that it is time for a prediction!

EFL Cup games are always difficult to call and this is likely to be a tight contest considering Forest’s record of draws so far this season. Newcastle’s winless run is not as bad as it looks on first glance, though, so we’re backing the visitors to progress.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Newcastle

7.37pmAs I have already alluded to, these two sides met at this exact stage of the competition last season, and on that occasions Forest did manage to pull off an upset – and away from home at St James’ Park too.

Mitrovic gave Newcastle an early lead on that occasion before the 90 minutes eventually ended at 2-2. Forest then got the extra-time winner to secure their place in the third round.

7.39pmThat result took the six meetings between these two sides this century to three wins apiece, although it is Newcastle who have the edge in terms of all-time clashes in this fixture and tonight they could pick up their 50th win against Forest across all competitions.

These two sides have met on 110 previous occasions, with Newcastle winning 49, drawing 27 and losing 34 of those.

7.41pmNewcastle’s most recent visit to this stadium did end in defeat, though, with Jamaal Lascelles of all people scoring a late own goal against his former club to seal the victory for Forest over the nine-man Magpies, who had seen Shelvey and Dummett sent off in the first half.

The last EFL Cup clash here saw Newcastle emerge victorious in entertaining fashion, meanwhile, with Fabricio Coloccini scoring a 120th-minute winner to seal a 4-3 victory.

7.43pmRight, we’re almost ready to go here, so let’s have a quick reminder of the team news – including a debut for Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff…

NOTTINGHAM FOREST STARTING XI: Steele; Byram, Hefele, Fox, Robinson; Bridcutt, Watson, Lolley, Carvalho, Dias; Murphy

NEWCASTLE STARTING XI: Darlow; Sterry, Schar, Fernandez, Clark; Atsu, Ki, Longstaff, Kenedy; Muto, Joselu

1 minKICKOFF:  Here we go, then! Newcastle get us underway at The City Ground!

1 minSAVE!  Less than a minute in and Nottingham Forest already have their first sight of goal! They get the ball forward quickly and Dias collects it just outside the box before cutting inside and having a shot which is comfortably saved by Darlow.


2 minIncredible! What a start this has been from Nottingham Forest as they take the lead inside two minutes!

Daryl Murphy scores against his former club with a smart glancing header from close range, although the plaudits must go to Byram. He skips past Kenedy far too easily down the right flank before whipping in a beauty of a cross which is begging to be converted by the in-form striker.

Nottingham Forest striker Daryl Murphy celebrates with teammates after scoring during his side's EFL Cup clash with Newcastle United on August 29, 2018© Reuters

4 minNewcastle had barely woken up before that goal went in. Their defending was very lax – from Kenedy’s pathetic attempt at stopping Byram to the centre-back’s who got nowhere near the cross. Awful from the Premier League side so far.

6 minByram again gets forward down the right flank into a good position and his cross is dangerous once more, but this time it is just too high for the man in the middle.

8 minCHANCE!  Decent chance for Newcastle as they come forward for the first time. Sterry swings a really good cross in from deep, but Joselu mistimes his header and can’t get anywhere enough on it to turn it goalwards. Muto nearly connects with it behind him, but he was offside anyway.

10 minA landmark goal for Murphy for a few different reasons!

12 minLovely football from Forest again. Lolley and Carvalho link up down the left channel to break into the box, but Loelly’s cutback towards Murphy is intercepted. The hosts have started this match really well, though.

13 minSHOT!  Better from Newcastle as they string together their slickest move so far, ending with Muto teeing up Ki. The former Swansea man goes for goal first time, but drags his effort a few yards wide.

15 minNewcastle have just begun to make things a little more difficult for Forest in the last few minutes, increasing their pressure when the hosts are in possession and preventing them from looking so dangerous coming forward.

17 minMore good play from the home side, with Lolley at the heart of it again. A few short, sharp passes allow Lolley to slip a ball through to Dias, but the angle is against him and his low cross is intercepted.

19 minLolley is having a stormer so far, but he perhaps takes this one step too far. The midfielder waltzes his way past one, two, three, four challenges to the edge of the box, but finally gets crowded out. He has Dias free to his right if he could get his head up, but he perhaps got a little carried away there.

21 min

23 minGood spell of possession from Forest, and that is exactly what they needed having given up 67% of the ball in the last 10 minutes. It is a far cry from the weekend’s 19% possession for Newcastle!

25 minNewcastle are certainly seeing more of the ball inside the Nottingham Forest half at the moment. It has taken them time to grow into the game, but they are marginally on top right now.

26 minSterry plays a good ball down the right flank for Atsu to get on the end of, but Robinson recovers well to block the winger’s cross.

28 minForest break into the box again here and Murphy threatens to cut inside his man momentarily, but the goalscorer ultimately has to make do with a corner which comes to nothing.

30 minUPDATE: There are three other EFL Cup matches taking place tonight, and the first goal has gone in from those with Everton taking the lead against Rotherham through Gylfi Sigurdsson.

30 minForest have played some really good stuff tonight, and this is the latest example. Dias back-heels the ball into the path of Byram on the edge of the box, but his cross is this time woefully overhit.

32 minWe have had more than half an hour of this match now, and Karanka will be delighted with what he has seen from his side so far. They have the lead and have looked capable of extending it too with some very slick football.

34 minBridcutt releases the marauding Byram down the right flank once again, but this time Clark is in no need for it and goes in with a heavily challenge which takes all of the ball but also sees him let Byram know he is there.

35 minByram is suddenly on the opposite flank at the other end of the pitch, having raced back from a corner to put in a good, strong challenge on his own. His tackle denies Longstaff the chance to put the ball into the box at the end of a counter-attack.

35 minCLOSE!  Joselu gets to the near post from the resulting corner and glances his header right across the face of goal. It goes narrowly past the far post, and is agonisingly in front of both Muto and Fernandez, who were waiting to tap it into an empty net from close range.

37 minThis is a concern for Forest – Byram picked up an injury during that tackle on Longstaff, which looks to be an ankle problem. He is not moving freely at all here and the hosts may be forced into an early change.

39 minNOTTINGHAM FOREST SUB: Byram tried again to continue, but to no avail. On comes Tendayi Darikwa in his place.

41 minDarikwa’s first action of the match is to bring down Muto right on the edge of the area. Newcastle want a penalty, but the referee says no. Muto cannot quite believe it!

42 minHaving seen that Darikwa challenge again, it was clearly a foul but also clearly outside the area. The sub was lucky to get away without conceding a free kick there.

43 minUPDATE: We could be in for a shock at The Den – Plymouth have just taken the lead against Millwall through Jamie Ness.

45 minThere will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.


8.42pmThe first half comes to an end at The City Ground, then, and it is Nottingham Forest who have the lead going into the break against Premier League Newcastle United.

Forest have played some really slick football so far and started the match really well, but Newcastle grew into the first half and saw more of the ball as the 45 minutes progressed. Clear chances have been few and far between for the visitors, though.

8.44pmThe only goal of the game so far arrived after less than two minutes, and it was a familiar face that came back to haunt Newcastle as Daryl Murphy broke the deadlock.

Byram was the architect of the goal, skipping past Kenedy far too easily down the right flank before delivering a perfect ball into the middle which Murphy glanced past Darlow from close range.

8.46pmNewcastle have not offered too much in the way of reply so far, although they did come close to an equaliser 10 minutes before the interval when Joselu got in front of his marker to glance a header narrowly wide of the far post.

Both Muto and Fernandez almost got on the end of it to tap it into an empty net from close range, but the ball skipped away agonisingly out of reach for the duo.

8.48pmJoselu also missed another headed chance earlier in the game, while Ki has dragged a long-range effort wide for Newcastle, but that has been the sum of their chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Forest haven’t offered too much since their opening goal either, although the hosts have played some nice football and have looked capable of adding a second.

46 minKICKOFF:  Nottingham Forest get us back underway for the second half at The City Ground!

48 minThis is a fairly big 45 minutes for Newcastle given that they are still winless this season. There is a certain degree of sympathy due to the difficult start they have been handed, but with Man City and Arsenal to come into their next two games, missing out tonight could leave them waiting far too long for their first win of the campaign.

49 minEncouragement for Newcastle as Atsu swings a cross into the box which Joselu flicks goalwards, forcing a smart save from the keeper. The linesman’s flag is up, but it is still their best attacking moment of the match so far.

51 minCHANCE!  Brilliant defending from Fernandez to bail his goalkeeper out! Dias goes for goal from range and it should be a fairly routine one for Darlow, but he spills it at the feet of Murphy.

The striker gets to the rebound first and takes the ball around Darlow, but Fernandez slides in to deny a certain goal!

51 minCHANCE!  The resulting corner is attacking really well by Hefele, but he can only put his header narrowly wide. Schar may have done just about enough to put him off there.

53 minLongstaff skips into a bit of space and the crowd urge him to shoot, so he duly obliges. It is a decent enough effort too, but it hits his own man Muto before looping onto the roof of the net.

55 minthis has been a really good opening 10 minutes to this second half. Newcastle started it off with that Joselu chance which proved to be offside, but Forest have responded really well. They are more than holding their own here.

57 minThere is more concern for Forest here. Having already lost Byram, they now look set to lose Lolley to injury – probably their two best performers tonight. The incident look innocuous, but Lolley has just gone down again having tried to carry on.

58 minNOTTINGHAM FOREST SUB: Indeed, there is the change as Ben Osborn replaces Lolley.

59 minSHOT!  Half a chance for the visitors again as the ball drops to Ki on the edge of the box, but he scuffs his half-volley and sends it bobbling comfortably wide of the target.

61 minWe’re past the hour mark in this match now and still this is a very even game. If you didn’t know beforehand, you would be hard pressed to identify which of these were the Championship team and which were the Premier League outfit.

62 minSAVE!  Brilliant from Carvalho as he attempts an audacious chip from a tight angle which has Darlow scrambling backwards. The keeper proves to be equal to it, though, clawing the ball away with a big save.

64 minUPDATE: Newcastle may be struggling, but Everton look like avoiding an upset at Goodison Park as Dominic Calvert-Lewin has doubled their lead against Rotherhan.

Elsewhere, Millwall have levelled things up against Plymouth and Watford lead Reading.

66 minReally good chance for Forest to break as the ball is spread out to Dias on the right wing, but his touch is really poor and then he commits a foul to end the attack once and for all.

67 minYELLOW CARD!  Dias is the first name in the book this evening for a late challenge on Clark.

69 minNEWCASTLE SUB: Attacking change from Newcastle here as Ayoze Perez replaces Fernandez.

71 minUPDATE: Plymouth have hit straight back against Millwall, with Lapado restoring their lead at The Den. The upset is back on!

72 minMuto twists and turns into a bit of shooting space inside the area, but Hefele quickly closes that down to blocks the eventual effort. The Newcastle fans are then angered as Muto does not see the ball out for a corner, allowing Forest to keep it in and clear the danger fully.

74 minSHOT!  Really good from Dias as he skips away from two players in midfield before bursting through down the middle. He has Murphy ahead of him but eventually opts to go for goal alone, slicing his effort high and wide of the target.

75 minFlash point here as Joselu and Hefele exchange angry words following a challenge by the latter. The two go head to head and Hefele does move his head towards the Newcastle man, but it is quickly calmed down.

76 minYELLOW CARD!  Both Joselu and Hefele pick up yellow cards for that clash.

77 minNEWCASTLE SUB: Another change for the visitors here as Jacob Murphy replaces Muto.

77 minSHOT!  Schar takes on a free kick from range and puts power behind it, but it never looks like dipping in time and flies comfortably over the crossbar.

78 minCHANCE!  Forest have had their chance to put this game to bed here! Murphy drives forward before releasing the ball to Dias, who cuts inside and then flashes an effort narrowly wide of the target.

80 minYELLOW CARD!  Longstaff picks up a debut yellow card for a bodycheck on Carvalho.

81 minUPDATE: Newcastle could be the only Premier League scalp claimed tonight as Watford have doubled their lead against Reading courtesy of Quina.

82 minNOTTINGHAM FOREST SUB: A third and final change from the hosts as Matty Cash replaces Carvalho.

82 minNEWCASTLE SUB: Newcastle also make their last change with Salomon Rondon replacing Joselu.

83 minYELLOW CARD!  Robinson is the latest player in the book for clipping the heels of Longstaff.

85 minUPDATE: We could be heading for penalties at The Den! Millwall have levelled things up against Plymouth once again!

87 minUPDATE: The nerves have been raised, but then settled again at Goodison Park; Rotherham pulled a goal back against Everton but the Toffees have responded immediateluy to restore their two-goal lead.

88 minMurphy gets into the box down the left channel and puts a cross into the box, but there are no Newcastle players attacking the front post and it is easy for Steele to collect.

90 minBoos ring around The City Ground as the fourth official indicates SIX added minutes. Where have them come from?!


90+2 minRondon only needed two of those six minutes to get the equaliser!

The striker starts the move down the right flank and continues his run as Atsu and Perez combined to pick out the striker. Rondon puts his head down and gets everything he can behind his shot, drilling it into the bottom corner.

Steele got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out as Rondon opens his Newcastle account!


90+4 minIncredible scenes at The City Ground! Moments after losing their lead, Forest and right back ahead and surely that is enough for them to progress into the third round!

Dias is released down the left flank and plays his cross into the box which Darlow can only palm out into a dangerous area. Cash is following up and converts it, adding to his 93rd-minute equaliser from the last round!

90+6 minFootball, eh? You have to love it.

Forest go from bemoaning the six minutes to be thankful for them, and now it is Newcastle looking to swing the pendulum back in their favour again.


90+7 minWhat a finale! Second ago, Newcastle were denied a penalty after seeing Steele clatter into Perez, and they had a shout.

Forest don’t worry about that, though, and go straight up the other end to put the game to bed as Dias chips a lovely finish over the keeper and in.

Incredible scenes!


9.48pmIncredible. Just incredible.

What a finale to this game, just as it looked as though it might have been settled by a goal after less than two minutes!

Salomon Rondon had other ideas and appeared to have forced penalties with his 92nd-minute equaliser, but moments later Matty Cash restored Forest’s lead to put them back on course for the third round.

There were more twists to come, though, and Newcastle should have had a penalty right at the death before the hosts went straight up the other end and added a third through Gil Dias.

9.50pmPhew! That is all we have time for this evening after a madcap match which saw three goals in stoppage time!

Thank you for joining Sports Mole for tonight’s thriller as Nottingham Forest dump Newcastle out of the EFL Cup for a second successive season, I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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