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B Team qualify for Final of Kai Thor Cup after topping Group A

20 January 2017

Kevin O'Connor's men will play Brann Bergen in Sunday afternoon finale

Brentford B have qualified for the Final of the Kai Thor Cup after finishing top of Group A, and will play Brann Bergen in Odense on Sunday afternoon.

Kevin O'Connor's side got off to a slow start falling 2-1 to Esbjerg but rallied to overcome Hamburg 2-0 to give themselves the best chance of progressing. Hamburg then beat Esbjerg 2-1, meaning The Bees advance on goal difference as winners of their group. In Group B, Brann Bergen won both of their fixtures to also make it to the final as Lech Poznan scrambled into second with Odense Boldklub in third.

Match Summary: Brentford B 1-2 Esbjerg

The first match was a cagey encounter, in which Brentford controlled a lot of the game but conceded two sloppy goals.

The Danish side scored first, a flick-on at the near post found its way into the net. Then Zain Westbrooke equalised in style during the second half, scoring a dipping effort into the top corner from long range.

Almost immediately from the restart, Esbjerg were awarded a penalty. A late challenge from Jarvis Edobor gave the Danes a chance to score from 12 yards. Despite diving the right way, Ellery Balcombe just couldn't reach the inch-perfect penalty as it deflected in off the post.

The Bees had chances to get back into the game but couldn't convert their pressure into goals. Raphael Assibey-Mensah had the best chance to level the match when he latched onto a loose ball inside the box, the goalkeeper made an excellent reflex save to knock the low shot away from danger with his feet.

The B Team also lost Bradley Clayton to injury towards the end of the 60-minute game, the winger going down after a battle for the ball near the centre circle.

B Team lineup: Balcombe; Talbro, Mepham, Edobor, Chatzitheodoridis; Ferry, Westbrooke (c), Assibey-Mensah; Clayton (sub Dunn 45 mins), Parish (sub Shaibu 30 mins), Johansson

The Bees were the first team to play twice from Group A and therefore played a fresh Hamburg side at 5.30pm local time. O'Connor made one change to the starting lineup from the previous game with Luke Dunn replacing the stricken Bradley Clayton on the wing.

Match Summary: Hamburg SV 0-2 Brentford B

The Bees' desire to win was evident from the moment the second match started. Their passing was sharper, their defending was stronger and Hamburg were being pressed back from the first whistle.

A neat ball from Westbrooke played his side in behind the Germans a short way into the first half an hour period, with the pull back being tucked away at the far post by Luke Dunn. The second came soon afterwards, this time Dunn turned provider when he won the ball back on the press and squared for Justin Shaibu to slam home from close range.

HSV tried their best to get back into the match, creating a few chances that Ellery Balcombe was able to block or grab hold of. Shaibu could have had a second when a sublime first touch saw him burst away from the back four but his next touch was heavy and took the ball all the way to the onrushing goalkeeper.

Having just returned from a spell on the sidelines, Shaibu was then withdrawn at half time for Marc Rio and the spaniard gave a good showing up front. Were it not for Dunn getting cramp towards the end of the game, Rio would have released the winger into clear air. It was very much to Hamburg's relief that they saw the Englishman pull up as they struggled to catch up with him.

The midfield were showing no signs of weakness as they enforced their control on the game. James Ferry, Zain Westbrooke and Raphael Assibey-Mensah were taking it in turns to press their opponent's middle men into silly mistakes. While up top, substitute Danny Parish was latching onto anything that fell his way. The young winger bravely took one for the cause when he was the victim of a late challenge on the halfway line, but was able to finish the game after a spell on treatment on the sidelines.

B Team lineup: Balcombe; Talbro, Mepham, Edobor, Chatzitheodoridis; Ferry, Westbrooke (c), Assibey-Mensah; Dunn (sub Titov 54 mins), Shaibu (sub Rio 30 mins), Johansson (sub Parish 42 mins)


All of the day's results are listed as follows:

Group A: Brentford 1-2 Esbjerg, Hamburg 0-2 Brentford, Esbjerg 1-2 Hamburg

Group B: Odense 0-0 Lech Poznan (Poznan win 5-4 on penalties), Lech Poznan 0-1 Brann Bergen, Brann Bergen 1-0 Odense


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