Brentford booked their place in the Championship play-off final with a 3-1 semi-final second leg victory - and 3-2 aggregate win - over Swansea on Wednesday night, in the final game played at the Bees' Griffin Park home.
The hosts got off to an excellent start ten minutes in, with Ollie Watkins finishing low beyond Erwin Mulder after a lightening quick break from a Swansea corner. Excellent turned perfect five minutes later with Emiliano Marcondes brilliantly directing a low header home from Said Benrahma's pin-point cross.
Brentford are *surely* on their way to Wembley!? ?⚪— Sky Sports (@SkySports) July 29, 2020
Bryan Mbeumo slams home their 3⃣rd of the night! ?pic.twitter.com/cV6f7GHs6X
A double change from Swansea had hoped to change their fortunes for the second half, but the Bees struck a seemingly killer blow less than a minute after the restart when Bryan Mbeumo smashed home a volley from eight yards out.
The result looked in no doubt 14 minutes from time, until a moment of stupidity from Pontus Jansson presented Rhian Brewster with an opportunity - one he took superbly when he lofted the ball over David Raya. Despite the gift, the home side held firm for the remainder to secure their place in the Championship play-off final at Wembley - not without a few scraps and heated exchanges, it must be said.
Key Talking Point
Griffin Park deserved a fitting send off, and that's exactly what it got. This was always going to be a cracking fixture to watch, but it was Brentford who stole the show in the only way they know how: by being damn entertaining.
There is a refreshing sense of freedom and flair to this Bees outfit that makes them so good to watch. The fight, press at the right times and know their duties, but they're given free pass to express themselves and let their individual quality shine through. It works so well.
You do worry that if they don't reach the promised land, however, it could be detrimental. There is so much talent in this squad that's waiting to be plucked up by richer clubs, so this Wembley showdown is of huge importance. Yet, if they play like this six and a half miles up the road, they'll do just fine. Fulham or Cardiff, it doesn't matter.
Brentford Player Ratings
Starting XI: Raya (8); Dalsgaard (8), Henry (8), Jansson (4), Pinnock (8); Marcondes (8), Jensen (9), Norgaard (8); Mbuemo (7), Watkins (9*), Benrahma (8).
Substitutes: Canos (6), Dasilva (7).
You know that player who everyone that possesses a wallet has been linked with, right? That one? Yeah, there is very good reason why Ollie Watkins is the hot Championship striking prospect this season.
He's very, very good. Works his socks off. Has no obvious flaws. Cost £1.8m.
Saïd Benrahma — ?️— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 29, 2020
Bryan Mbeumo — ⚽️
Ollie Watkins — ⚽️
Thomas Frank was right, BMW are back. ??? pic.twitter.com/ltECnbTLZa
Firmino has Ollie Watkins posters in his bedroom— Vinai (@Vinai01_) July 29, 2020
Ollie Watkins is a complete striker. Unbelievable player.— West Ham News (@whufc_news) July 29, 2020
Key Talking Point
Whatever the outcome of Wednesday night in west London, Swansea were going to play the only way Swansea know how. Steve Cooper is building a project that will require time to flourish, but their entry into the play-offs acted almost as a free hit.
This squad is learning his methods, progressing along nicely. But in all honesty, they're not ready just yet. It would have been fantastic for the club to reach Wembley and perhaps even the Premier League, but another season in the second tier could actually be a blessing in disguise.
Cooper will be in no doubt that more work is needed with this side, but he's set the foundations for a fruitful future for the club. More time to work on that will do the all involved the world of good.
Swansea Player Ratings
Starting XI: Mulder (6); Naughton (5), Van der Hoorn (5), Guehi (7); Roberts (6), Fulton (6), Grimes (5), Bidwell (5); Gallagher (6), Ayew (7*), Brewster (7).
Substitutes: Dhanda (7), Cabango (6), Celina (6).
Swansea struggled to deal with Brentford's press throughout, nullifying the threats of the forwards, but Andre Ayew kept plugging away and trying to get involved. His willingness and desire mostly ended in failure, mind you.
Ayew must be getting bread cause he’s too good for this level— Jason Banton (@JasonBanton) July 29, 2020
The world's richest game awaits for one half of Wednesday's sides while the other must buckle down and prepare for another Championship season.