Brentford will play for promotion to the Premier League following a 3-1 victory over Swansea City in the second leg of their play-off semi-final at Griffin Park. Ollie Watkins struck in the 11th minute with Emiliano Marcondes doubling the Bees lead four minutes later.
Bryan Mbeumo put the hosts 3-0 up a minute into the second half and although Rhian Brewster scored in the 78th minute, Brentford saw out the final game in the 116-year history of Griffin Park to reach next Tuesday's play-off final against Fulham or Cardiff City.
Story of the game
Brentford knew they needed to come out and assert themselves right from the off. Playing with extra motivation to send Griffin Park out with a win, the Bees dominated. Emiliano Marcondes forced Swansea goalkeeper Erwin Mulder into an awkward save from a dipping shot, Said Benrahma sent a free kick just wide and Christian Norgaard saw his effort blocked.
The early pressure eventually paid off for the Bees and they were level on aggregate after 15 minutes. Goalkeeper David Raya collected a Swansea free kick and found Mathias Jensen down the right channel. He eluded Swans defender Conor Gallagher, busted the visitors open with a 50-yard peach of a pass to Watkins, who only needed one touch to gather and slot low past Mulder.
Four minutes later, the Bees doubled their lead. Watkins was again involved, laying the ball off to Benrahma and his immaculate cross found Marcondes, who nodded past Mulder to put Brentford ahead 2-1 on aggregate.
Swansea nearly authored the perfect response when Gallagher was played in down the left by Jake Bidwell, who raced in on goal only to see Raya get down well to save, diverting the ball from Andre Ayew while Pontus Jonsson cleared any further danger.
A neat passage of play nearly led to Brentford's third. Jonsson found who hit Benrahma whose shot beat Mulder, but cannons off of the post and rolled across the line, inches away from wrapping up the game for the Bees. Mbeumo lashed over from distance and twice more Benrahma went wide.
A minute into the second half, the hosts did have their third. Jensen found some space down the left, set up the overlapping Henry who found Mbeumo with an pitch-perfect cross that he volleyed past Mulder to put Brentford ahead 3-1 on aggregate. The Bees were buzzing as Ethan Pinnock narrowly headed over Benrahma's free kick.
The game reached a lull until the 78th minute when Jansson failed to clear a lofted ball down the middle, Brewster got onto it and lofted it over Raya to cut the overall deficit to a single goal. The goal scorer then played a neat combination with Ayew, fed Roberts, who cut in on the right and forced Raya to tip over. He saved Brewster's header before the Bees had one final series of chances.
Josh Dasilva shot wide while Watkins cut the ball back for Benrahma, whose shot nicked the crossbar and went over, Sergi Canos had his effort saved by Mulder and Dasilva a further shot blocked. It was fitting that the brilliant Benrahma had the last ever chance at Griffin Park, a bender that was just inches away after winning the ball on the edge of the Swansea penalty area.
Man of the match: Said Benrahma
Although he didn't score (he was terribly unlucky with a couple of chances), he was at the heart of the Brentford attack by using his considerable skills to set up plenty of chances including Marcondes' first goal.
With interest from some top-flight clubs recently being revealed, the Algerian put on another mesmerizing display in Griffin Park's farewell and should Brentford win the final, he will be plying his trade in the Premier League for the Bees.
Brentford played the way they needed to play at exactly the right time
Knowing they needed to overturn a one-goal deficit, the Bees came out with intent and they played with the sense of urgency needed. They were their usual creative selves, constantly pressuring the Swansea goal using their pace, attacking mindset and excellent buildup play to overwhelm the Swans. Griffin Park could only be sent out one way and Brentford provided that perfect ending.