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Incredible comeback sends Sam Jacques into Football Manager EFL Cup final

Bees come from two down with ten men to beat Fulham

16 May 2020

Ethan Pinnock headed home a 90th minute winner as Sam Jacques' Brentford came from two goals, and a man down to book their spot in the final of the Football Manager EFL Cup this afternoon.

You would have gotten long odds on Sam progressing when Pontus Jansson was sent off at the hour mark, giving away the penalty which Aleksandar Mitrovic converted to make it 2-0. However, Sam went for broke, playing two up top and leaving Pinnock as the sole central defender, and it paid off. 

Substitute Nikos Karelis set up Ollie Watkins to halve the deficit almost instantly before Watkins went on a mazy run which ended in him firing past Marek Rodak for an equaliser. 

David Raya, who impressed in the Quarter-Final win over Preston North End, proved the hero again with a string of incredible saves to keep out The Whites forward line. It was then left to Pinnock to complete the incredible comeback as he flicked home Tariqe Fosu's corner to set up a final against Swansea City tomorrow afternoon at 3pm. 

Sam stuck with the same XI that cruised past North End in the Last Eight but was quickly under the cosh against This Country star, Charlie Cooper. The Whites' brand of all out attack 'Medieval Football', as Cooper described it before the game, caused The Bees all sorts of issues in the early stages. 

Ivan Cavaleiro had a shot blocked and Tim Ream fired wide in opening ten minutes. Harrison Reed should have put The Whites ahead at 14 minutes but he shot straight at Raya from close range. A minute later and it was Mitrovic who was denied by a busy Brentford goalkeeper. 

All Jacques' side had to show for the opening 30 minutes was a Watkins effort straight at Rodak and a blocked Marcondes shot. 

Eventually the weight of Fulham pressure told with Cavaleiro sweeping home from ten yards. The game could have been over before the break; Aboubakar Kamara headed over before Raya denied Cavaleiro, Kamara, and Michael Hector in the final minutes of the half. 

As you'd expect from a derby, it was a fiesty affair with six Brentford players finding their name in the book during the opening period. 

After the break, it was a similar story with The Bees decidedly second best. Cavaliero blazed wide when it looked easier to score, Raya showed great agility to tip behind Anthony Knockaert's free-kick, and Emiliano Marcondes made a vital block to deny Harry Arter.

All that defensive work looked to have been undone on the hour as Jansson felled Mitrovic in the box. The Bees skipper was shown red and the Fulham frontman picked himself up to fire home from 12 yards. However, it proved, that was just when we were getting going.

As well as supporting The Bees during the tournament, you can also show your support for the EFL’s charity partner, Mind, the mental health charity. In these tough times their services are needed more than ever so while you’re being entertained by the action, please consider donating on this JustGiving page which will be open during the tournament.


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