Brentford came from behind to beat Valencia in their final pre-season friendly before the start of the Premier League season. The Bees trailed at half time after an even opening 45 minutes but came back. Ethan Pinnock headed in a corner before Frank Onyeka struck the winner a few moments later.
The Bees were well worth the win. They had a goal disallowed early on after the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee and then fell behind just past the half hour. But Brentford were much the better team after the break and took a win six days before they host Arsenal at the start of their first-ever Premier League season.
Brentford thought they had taken the lead inside five minutes when Marcus Forss converted from close range. Saman Ghoddos had robbed Mouctar Diakhaby and squared the ball for Forss to convert. But referee Robert Jones consulted the Video Assistant Referee, watching a game for the first time at our new stadium, and decided the goal should be disallowed for offside, presumably because Forss was in front of Ghoddos when the ball came to him.
Bryan Mbeumo had tested Valencia goalkeeper Christian Rivero with a shot just before the disallowed goal and Jesús Vázquez had broken in to space on the Brentford right before firing across the face of goal inside the first minute. But the opening exchanges contained no other chances. Brentford played on the front foot, with wing backs Rico Henry and Sergi Canós in attacking areas, given space as Ghoddos and Mbeumo drifted inside.
Valencia might have had slightly more of the ball in the first half hour. They played intricately in the centre of the field and looked to use any space in wide areas as Brentford attacked. And they ended that half hour with the opening goal.
A ball was played in to space on the Valencia left and Diego López ran free. He weaved his way in to the penalty area before wrong-footing David Raya with a low shot. With Raya’s weight going to his left as López headed that way, the ball was rolled in to the opposite corner and Valencia had the lead.
The visitors had made a change just before that as Alessandro Burlamanqui was unable to continue, and Brentford almost exploited when they were a man down, before the replacement came on. Henry darted in to space on the left and cut the ball back to Forss, but his shot was blocked. López shot wide for Valencia late in the half and The Bees could have levelled in stoppage time. A free kick was played short to Henry and his shot was blocked. The loose ball was played back deep and Christian Nørgaard headed across the face of goal.
Brentford introduced Onyeka at half time and made a subtle change in their system, pushing Mbeumo closer to Forss and reinforcing their central midfield. The Bees pushed forward at the start of the second period but there were few chances created. Henry burst in to the penalty area before going down under a challenge, but Mr Jones again checked with his VAR and no foul was given.
Javi Guerra shot over for Valencia at the end of a rather quiet first 15 minutes of the second period that saw more substitutions than attempts on goal. But Brentford were starting to take control and they were on the verge of turning the game around. Canós had a shot blocked from an Onyeka pass. The loose ball bounced up and Onyeka’s low shot was pushed around the post by Rivero, but that only delayed the equaliser.
Canós delivered a corner from the right and Pinnock rose highest, he powered a header from 12 yards in to the top corner. Rivero had no chance and Brentford were level. And The Bees completed the comeback six minutes later. A Henry cross from the left was half cleared and dropped to Onyeka, his shot was low and powerful and whistled past Rivero and in to the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Brentford had come from behind and could have grabbed a third goal when Pinnock met a Mbeumo free kick, but his header bounced wide of the post. Pinnock then blocked a shot from Maxi Gómez at the other end. Myles Peart-Harris burst in to the box before seeing a shot blocked and there was still time for Mbeumo to have a shot saved by Rivero before the game was brought to a close and The Bees had their win.
Brentford: Raya; Ajer (sub Bech 74 mins), Jansson, Pinnock; Canós, Norgaard (sub Bidstrup 82 mins), Janelt (sub Peart-Harris 87 mins), Henry (sub Roerslev 74 mins); Mbeumo, Forss (sub Dervişoğlu 74 mins), Ghoddos (sub Onyeka h/t)
Valencia: Rivero; Menargues (sub Correia 58 mins), Diakhaby, Guillamón (sub Paulista 58 mins), Vázquez; Jason (sub Cheryshev 54 mins), Esquerdo, Burlamanqui (sub Guerra 27 mins), López (sub Pérez 58 mins); Sobrino (sub Guedes 58 mins), Vallejo (sub Gómez 58 mins)