Brentford 0:1 Leicester City
A third minute goal from Kelechi Iheanacho was enough to win this cup tie, but Brentford pushed City all the way at Griffin Park on Saturday…
This was an emotional afternoon in west London with Brentford set to leave their home of 116 years for a new stadium a mile upstream of the Thames, and it turned out to be Griffin Park’s final FA Cup tie.
But sentimentality made way for practicality with both managers making wholesale changes to their sides, Brentford facing a crunch promotion clash with Forest on the same night that City travel to Villa with a League Cup final place at stake.
While City didn’t have to face the Bees’ prolific B-M-W forward line, only Söyüncü and Pérez retained their places.
The watching nation on BBC1 may have feared that Brentford’s second string might be overwhelmed early on. After just twenty seconds a clearance ricocheted to Iheanacho who sent Pérez in on goal. He rounded Daniels but a last ditch challenge from Racic denied him the opening goal.
That came in the fourth minute. A stunning, match-winning fifty yard ball from Praet found Justin down the right and his cross was met at the far post with a composed half-volley from Iheanacho.
City continued to press hard, forcing Brentford into errors. Praet had a shot blocked by Jeanvier and then Gray wasted a free-kick from a good position, firing a shot into the side-netting.
But after a spell in which City looked likely to make it 2-0, Brentford got their act together and carved out a chance. Roerslev beat Fuchs down the right and his cross reached Marcondes, whose shot missed the post by inches and found the side-netting.
The Bees threatened again in the 20th minute when a smart turn and side-step from Dervisoglu gave him room for a shot, but he curled it wide.
It was a more even game now. Albrighton strode forward and fired a low shot narrowly wide of the far post, while Thompson did the same at the other end.
Iheanacho then played Pérez in with a lovely ball but Daniels did well to get a glove to his shot from close range. Albrighton, following up, headed the loose ball over the bar.
Just before half-time Marcondes sent a dipping shot over the bar, and after a shaky start Brentford were still very much in the game.
And it was the home side who took the game to City in the second half.
Dasilva flashed a ball across the goalmouth but no one was on hand to take advantage, and then a dangerous free-kick launched into the area came to nought when Racic fouled Ward.
Then Brentford got too close for comfort in the 62nd minute. Marcondes swung a low ball across goal and it evaded everyone in the area before hitting the right hand post. Fuchs calmly mopped it up before Valencia could pounce.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 68th minute, handing Dewsbury-Hall his debut in place of Iheanacho.
After a spell in which City looked very blunt going forward Rodgers made another change, replacing Gray with Maddison.
With the clock ticking down Brentford would create one more golden chance and it arrived in the 83rd minute. Fuchs ducked under a Marcondes cross to allow it out for a goal kick but Chris Kavanagh pointed to the corner. There was a sense of dread at the injustice as Marcondes’ corner was met on the volley by Racic, but Ward athletically clawed it out from under the bar.
City soaked up some late pressure as the home side began to tire, and they had done just enough to make it into the fifth round draw. If this was Brentford’s reserves then surely they are in with a good shout for promotion.
Brendan Rodgers, now 32 cup games unbeaten, summed up: “I thought the first 25 minutes we were very good, but we were then loose in our passing. We didn’t have enough precision, with which we could have scored more goals, and then obviously we let Brentford back into the game a little bit more. The attitude in the game was brilliant and we finished with off with good save in the end by Danny Ward. So it was a good win for us and gets us into the next round.”
Brentford: Daniels, Rasmussen, Jeanvier, Racic, Thompson (Henry 77), Yearwood, Mokotjo (Dasilva 45), Marcondes, Valencia, Mbeumo 82), Dervisoglu, Zamburek.
Substitutes: Pinnock, Nørgaard, Gunnarsson, Hammar.
Leicester: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Söyüncü, Fuchs, Choudhury, Praet, Gray (Maddison 78), Pérez, Albrighton, Iheanacho (Dewsbury-Hall 68).
Substitutes: Schmeichel, Evans, Tielemans, Barnes, Ricardo.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: 12,221.
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