David Raya proved to be the penalty shootout hero once more as Sam Jacques lifted the Football Manager EFL Cup following victory over Swansea City this afternoon.
The Bees dominated normal and extra-time but only had an Emiliano Marcondes header to show for their efforts. After Marcondes and Tariqe Fosu had scored in the shootout, Raya denied Andre Ayew to make it advantage Bees.
Successful spot kicks from Bryan Mbeumo and Mathias Jensen handed Ollie Watkins the chance to settle it, but he was denied by Freddie Woodman. However, Sam wasn't to be denied as Henrik Dalsgaard netted from 12 yards before Raya made the telling contribution to deny Conor Gallagher.
In truth, the game should never have reached penalties with The Bees creating chance after chance over the 120 minutes. Sam made one change from yesterday's dramatic Semi-Final with Nikos Karelis coming in for Mbeumo.
After a scrappy opening, Marcondes saw a volley well beaten away by Woodman before The Swans stopper made an ever better save to turn Pontus Jansson's header over from a Jensen corner. Swansea, represented by supporter Gareth Roberts, created a couple of half-chances before taking the lead with what would prove to be their only shot on target of the game. Matt Grimes' long ball released Gallagher in behind and he slotted under Raya when one-on-one.
The response from Sam came just 79 seconds later; Jensen teasing in a free-kick which Marcondes flicked over Woodman and into the net.
There were no further chances ahead of the interval, but after the break Sam's side took full control. Marcondes and Benrahma had close-range efforts saved, Fosu shot just the wrong side of the post, and Watkins nodded a long Dalsgaard throw narrowly over.
Into extra-time it continued to be one-way traffic. Marcondes had a goal disallowed for offside before Watkins created a glorious chance to win it without the need for spot-kicks. The Bees' frontman saw his initial effort saved by Woodman and then watched as his follow up from a tight angle flashed across the face of goal and wide.
Into the final few minutes and more chances were created as Dalsgaard sent a low effort inches wide following a jinking run from deep and Watkins found Woodman in the way once more when through. When Jensen sent the 24th and final shot of the match wide in the 120th minute the game was set up for penalties.
One chance to be crowned Champions was passed up when Woodman came out on top once again against Watkins. However, Raya, who also saved twice in the Second Round penalty shootout win over Shrewsbury Town, made sure the trophy headed to West London when he beat away Gallagher's effort.
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.