Brentford’s run in the Carabao Cup came to an end at the Semi-Final stage as they were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur. A goal in each half was enough to give the Premier League side a place in the Carabao Cup Final in April as The Bees fell just short. The 2-0 score line probably did not tell the story of how close Brentford had pushed Tottenham, with The Bees having a goal disallowed when one down, but the hosts deserved to progress.
Tottenham scored inside the first 15 minutes and that was a lead they never relinquished. They defended well when they needed and were dangerous on the counter-attack, scoring their second goal in that way. A late red card, another decision prompted by Video Assistant Referee Peter Bankes, added a sour note to a cup exit.
There was a high intensity to the game from the first whistle. The ball was moved crisply along the turf by both sides and it was a high quality contest in the early stages. Few passes were wasted and both teams were also good out of possession, with well-drilled defences meaning few clear-cut chances in the opening exchanges.
Unfortunately for Brentford, the one good chance that came in the first quarter of the contest was brilliantly taken by the hosts. Spurs worked the ball around just inside Brentford territory and created space for Sergio Reguilón to move forward from left back. He had time to measure his cross and Moussa Sissoko arrived to direct a header in to the net from ten yards. Sissoko timed his run perfectly and the cross found him unmarked, between Brentford’s central defenders Ethan Pinnock and Mads Bech Sørensen and not tracked by anyone in midfield, to head in.
The goal came 12 minutes in and was the first real effort of note in the match. It had been even until that point with The Bees perhaps slightly shading the game in terms of possession and territory, but unable to find the right pass in the Tottenham half. David Raya had to save well to his left when Sissoko and Harry Kane combined to set up a shooting chance for Son Heung-min from the edge of the penalty area.
Raya made another fine save later in the half, clawing a Lucas Moura header away as it threatened to loop in to the top corner. Lucas Moura also had a shot blocked by Sørensen at the end of the first period as Tottenham ended it strongly. But between the goal and those late chances, Brentford probably had the upper hand.
The opening stages were notable for the way Pierre-Emile Højbjerg tracked Dasilva around the pitch. But the Tottenham midfield man picked up a booking just before the quarter hour mark and that coupled with the opening goal, saw a change in shape from the hosts. They started with Sissoko playing close to Tanguy Ndombele in an attacking midfield area, but he dropped deeper after the goal and that gave Brentford space to play. Vitaly Janelt and Mathias Jensen were able to link with Dasilva and there were attacking opportunities for Sergi Canós and Bryan Mbeumo on the flanks.
A cross-cum-shot from Mbeumo was held by Hugo Lloris and Pinnock headed a Jensen free kick wide soon after. Brentford’s best sight of goal in the first half came when Ivan Toney met an Mbeumo cross with a header, but he only found the arms of Lloris. A cross was half-cleared to Dasilva soon after, but his fierce effort was blocked.
Brentford were in at the break behind but very much in the contest. They had been able to find space on the flanks and when they ran at the hosts, there were opportunities. The final ball had not been right for The Bees and Tottenham had the better chances, but the game was very much alive at the break.
And The Bees could have been level soon after it. Canós created a chance for himself with a run inside from the left, but his shot was blocked. The opening soon after, however, was a better one. A pass from Henrik Dalsgaard put Mbeumo away and he got past Davinson Sánchez and in to the penalty area. Mbeumo stayed on his feet when it looked as if his heels had been clipped and he cut it back towards Toney but Serge Aurier made a vital tackle.
Sissoko had started the half in a more attacking position for Spurs and that meant the game was opening up. Brentford were pushing on and attacking on both flanks, playing around Tottenham, and spending time in the home side’s half. It meant that when the home side were able to win the ball, there were openings for them on the counter-attack.
A pass from Lucas Moura put Aurier free inside the penalty area, he got a lucky bounce inside the box and let fly from 12 yards on the angle but blasted over. Kane hit a free kick in to a defensive wall and Sissoko got away on the right before delivering a cross that Son Heung-min volleyed back in the direction it came, past Raya but past the far post. That volley from Son Heung-min would have given Tottenham a two-goal lead with half hour to go, instead it came at the start of the game’s crucial three minutes.
Brentford could have levelled when a long throw by Sørensen was flicked on and landed inside the six-yard box, but it was a defender there to clear rather than someone to apply the finishing touch. The corner was delivered deep by Mbeumo, Pinnock headed back, Lloris only got a hand on it and Toney was there to nod it in. But Brentford’s celebrations were cut short as Mr Bankes studied the image and decided that Toney was millimetres offside.
From thinking they were level, Brentford were soon two down. Kane found space in midfield and his pass allowed Ndombele to move forward. Ndombele split the Brentford defence with a pass and Son Heung-min ran on to it, his pass took him away from Dalsgaard and he lashed the ball past Raya to effectively seal the win.
With a two-goal deficit, Brentford had to chase the game and it opened up further. Raya saved from Kane while Tariqe Fosu dribbled in to space at the other end and saw a shot blocked. Ndombele also hit the outside of the post from a tight angle after good work by Sissoko, Kane and Son Heung-min. Mbeumo headed a Rico Henry cross over the bar and Jensen had a shot blocked but any chance Brentford had was ended when Dasilva was sent off. Dasilva and Højbjerg went in for a tackle in midfield and Brentford won the ball, the game continued with The Bees attacking for more than a minute before the game was halted. Referee Mike Dean was prompted to look at a replay of the incident by Mr Bankes and saw Dasilva slip in to the challenge and catch Højbjerg. Between them, the officials decided that was a red card offence and Brentford ended the game with ten.
The Bees continued to attack in the later stages, looking for an unlikely way back in to the contest. Henry shot over after Dalsgaard had been crowded out inside the penalty area and Lloris kept out a free kick from Emiliano Marcondes, gathering it uncomfortably at the second attempt. There was a late chance for Kane, who blasted over from distance, but the game was over by that point at Tottenham had a place in the final.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Aurier, Sánchez, Dier, Reguilón (sub Davies 71 mins); Højbjerg (sub Tanganga 86 mins), Sissoko; Lucas Moura (sub Winks 71 mins), Ndombele, Son Heung-min (sub Carlos Vinícius 89 mins); Kane
Subs (not used): Hart, Alderweireld, Alli, Bergwijn, White
Bookings: Højbjerg (14 mins), Reguilón (52 mins)
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Sørensen, Henry; Dasilva, Janelt (sub Marcondes 74 mins), Jensen; Mbeumo (sub Forss 81 mins), Toney, Canós (sub Fosu 74 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Stevens, Roerslev, Gilbert, Haygarth, Ghoddos
Bookings: Canons (14 mins), Janelt (18 mins), Mbeumo (51 mins)
Sent Off: Dasilva (84 mins)