Brentford exact perfect revenge on Fulham to secure League Cup quarter-final berth for first time
By Yann Tear at Brentford Community Stadium
Brentford 3 Fulham 0
Carabao Cup Fourth Round
A double from Said Benrahma guided Brentford to the League Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
It was all the sweeter for coming at the expense of the west London rivals who deprived them of a place in the Premier League just a few weeks ago. They thoroughly embarrassed them to exact a measure of revenge.
A special night, which their fans would have loved to witness, cannot quite make up for the pain of missing out on a return to the top flight after more than 70 years away, but it’s not a bad way to mark their first season at the new Brentford Community Stadium.
It was also the first competitive game under lights, making the occasion even more special for them.
A first half goal from Marcus Forss and two second half strikes from Said Benrahma did the trick and made it three Premier League scalps for them in the competition after the wins over Southampton and West Brom.
Benrahma’s second in particular drew gasps of appreciation from the few allowed in to watch the game. He totally outfoxed Michael Hector with a drag back before striking a perfect shot past an exposed Marek Rodak.
The visitors should have been the buoyant ones after their play-off win, but it has been a miserable start to the season for Scott Parker’s men, who now do not even have the League Cup to help them rediscover some form.
It was, of course, a crying shame that this derby was once again denied the crowd it needed to make the occasion even spicier. This was not Wembley, but how good it would have been to see the new stadium packed with home fans willing their side to avenge that play-off final defeat at the home of football.
There was not much to choose between the sides in the opening phases and little hint of what a breeze it would become for the hosts.
Neeskens Kebano struck a post from a free-kick for Fulham but Josh Dasilva wasn’t much further away with a curling strike from just outside the box.
Anthony Knockaert then blazed wide when he might have done better following a loose kick out by David Raya which went straight to the yellow shirt of Jean Michael Seri.
But on 37 minutes, Forss struck with a perfect finish following great work from Benrahma – playing a first-time ball out wide – and debutant Saman Ghoddos, who made the assist. But Fulham were culpable in the first place as Knockaert and Seri contrived to lose the ball on half way.
Iranian winger Ghoddos, on loan from French side Amiens, had already showed he could be a threat by getting into advanced attacking positions
Ademola Lookman – the former Charlton and Everton player looking to show the form that once marked him out as a star of the future - came on at half time to try and ignite the visitors and he combined well with Stefan Johansen to give Kebano a chance to test Raya with a volley.
Lookman’s liveliness certainly improved Fulham’s outlook and the RB Leipzig loan signing’s cross to Seri deserved to be put away rather than skied into the empty stands.
But Fulham were made to pay for that profligacy just a few minutes later when a free-kick from deep on 62 minutes launched by Dom Thompson was met by the towering head of Ethan Pinnock and Benrahma toe-poked past Rodak from six yards.
If that was almost routine for the gifted Algerian, his second looked anything but. If the Bees somehow keep him beyond this transfer window, it will be a major coup.
Emiliano Marcondes almost added a fourth goal but his scuffed shot was turned aside. Fulham blushes were hardly spared by such a small mercy, however.
The line-ups threw up plenty of interesting dynamics. Both sides left their primary strikers on the bench, although Aleksandar Mitrovic game on for the final quarter.
Fulham handed a debut to Ola Aina at right back and there was a first start for Seri following his year away on loan. But neither will look back that fondly on a shocking night for the Whites.
Brentford: Raya – Fosu, Pinnock, Bech Sorensen, Thompson – Dasilva (Norgaard 69), Jensen, Marcondes – Ghoddos (Canos 68), Forss, Benrahma (Stevens 78). Subs not used: Daniels, Toney, Jansson, Dervisoglu
Fulham: Rodak – Aina (Odoi 69), Hector, Le Marchand, Robinson – Johansen, Sei – Knockaert (Mitrovic 69), Onomah (Lookman h/t), Kebano Kamara. Subs not used: Fabri, Bryan, Francois