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Match Action: Brentford 3 Preston North End 0

Second-half goals see us through to Saturday's semi-final of the FM 20 EFL Cup

14 May 2020

Late goals from Ollie Watkins, Pontus Jansson, and Nikos Karelis, coupled with a heroic goalkeeping performance from David Raya, saw off Preston North End and sealed our spot in the Last Four of the Football Manager EFL Cup last night.

There were chances aplenty for both sides but in the end Sam Jacques got the better of James Moulding to progress.

The Bees started brightly against the tournament's top scorers and had the opening effort, Emiliano Marcondes bringing a low save out of Declan Rudd from inside the D. More chances were created but not taken by Jacques' side before Raya was called into action for the first time to tip Scott Sinclair's rasping drive wide. 

Ben Pearson was the next to be denied by Raya as he met Daniel Johnson's teasing free-kick. Sean Maguire thought he had opened the scoring on the brink of half-time but the offside flag cut short any Preston celebrations. North End had one last chance to take an advantage into the break but again Raya came to the rescue, beating away Tom Barkhuizen's angled effort. 

Half-time instructions received, Brentford came out strongly at the start of the second-half. Christian Norgaard lashed an effort over before he turned provider for Said Benrahma, the Algerian unable to beat Rudd from a tight angle. 

Soon, however, North End began to take control again. Raya turned over Johnson's effort before some last ditch defending was needed during a scramble in the box. Brentford's best chance came on the break as Karelis broke in behind but was then thwarted by a combination of Rudd and Patrick Bauer. 

On 71 minutes all that defensive resilience was rewarded as Benrahma drove from deep before feeding Watkins to slam home from the edge of the box. Ten minutes later, Raya made another key contribution; Josh Harrop thought he had found the bottom corner from 10 yards but David got down superbly to tip wide. 

Benrahma should have put the game to bed four minutes from time but his effort did have enough power to beat Rudd. 

The game was eventually settled by two goals in three injury-time minutes. Firstly, Pontus Jansson met Joel Valencia's corner with a powerful header before Karelis bundled home a half-cleared Henrik Dalsgaard long-throw.

The win sends Sam into Saturday's semi-final where he will play one of Swansea City, Fulham, or Nottingham Forest. 

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