Match ends, Brentford 3, Fulham 0.
Manager Thomas Frank said Brentford are “open to selling” Said Benrahma after the Algeria international “added a few million to his price” with two goals in his side’s Carabao Cup victory over Premier League Fulham.
Making his first start of the season after being linked with a move away during the summer, Benrahma’s second-half double sealed the Championship side’s first Carabao Cup quarter-final appearance.
Marcus Forss’ emphatic finish had given the hosts a half-time lead before Benrahma, 25, capitalised on poor Fulham marking from a free-kick after 62 minutes.
Benrahma, who scored 17 goals and made nine assists in 43 Championship games last season, then curled a delightful third into the corner from the edge of the box after beating his marker.
“Am I confident he will stay? I’m confident that I would love him to stay,” said Brentford boss Frank.
“But I don’t know. Honestly, if the price is right we are open to selling, but if not we will be happy for him to stay.
“Either we are going to get a top price or we are going to keep one of the best players in the Championship. Has he added a few million to his price? 100%.”
Victory sees Brentford exact revenge on Fulham for August’s Championship play-off final defeat after extra time at an empty Wembley Stadium.
In an even first half, Fulham’s French midfielder Neeskens Kebano struck the post with a trademark curling free-kick, but Jean Michael Seri conceded possession in midfield to allow Saman Ghoddos to set up Forss for his third goal in as many games.
Brentford keeper David Raya – almost punished by Anthony Knockaert for a poor goal-kick earlier in the game – protected the hosts’ slender lead with an excellent one-handed save from Kebano’s looping shot early in the second period.
That proved pivotal, as Benrahma punished some slack Fulham marking to pounce at the back post, before adding his superb second.
It was a deserved victory for the Bees, who have now knocked out three Premier League sides, having already overcome Southampton and West Brom.
Fulham’s woeful start continues
Only Michael Hector survived from the Fulham side beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday.
That result made it three successive opening Premier League defeats for promoted Fulham, with 10 goals conceded.
Fulham vice-chairman Tony Khan apologised to fans via Twitter for the performance in Monday’s defeat, following which manager Scott Parker said the club “need to work out if we want to compete in this league or just be a passenger”.
Former Everton winger Ademola Lookman arrived on loan from RB Leipzig on Wednesday and improved the visitors’ attacking threat significantly.
However, Fulham’s immediate concerns remain at the back – as demonstrated by Benrahma’s free shot at goal for his side’s second – as Monday’s transfer deadline looms.
Benrahma may indeed yet be on the move before the transfer window shuts amid reported Premier League interest, with an extended domestic-only window allowing Premier League clubs to trade with their English Football League counterparts until 17:00 BST on 16 October.
Fulham’s focus now returns to the Premier League as they go in search of a first win of the season against Wolves on Sunday (14:00 BST), while Brentford return to Championship action against Preston at the same time.
Frank’s side will learn their quarter-final opponents later when the draw follows the conclusion of Thursday’s Carabao Cup action.
- 24Fosu-HenryBooked at 47mins
- 29Bech Sørensen
- 14DasilvaSubstituted forNørgaardat 69′minutes
- 20GhoddosSubstituted forCanósat 68′minutes
- 10BenrahmaSubstituted forStevensat 79′minutes
- 34AinaSubstituted forOdoiat 69′minutes
- 20Le Marchand
- 8JohansenBooked at 49mins
- 11KnockaertSubstituted forMitrovicat 69′minutes
- 25OnomahSubstituted forLookmanat 45′minutes
- 47KamaraBooked at 12mins
Second Half ends, Brentford 3, Fulham 0.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ethan Pinnock.
Attempt missed. Antonee Robinson (Fulham) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Stefan Johansen with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Dominic Thompson.
Attempt saved. Sergi Canós (Brentford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mathias Jensen.
Offside, Fulham. Denis Odoi tries a through ball, but Aboubakar Kamara is caught offside.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Mads Bech Sørensen.
Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Neeskens Kebano (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Christian Nørgaard (Brentford).
Foul by Antonee Robinson (Fulham).
Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Brentford) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. Emiliano Marcondes (Brentford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Maxime Le Marchand.
Foul by Jean Michael Seri (Fulham).
Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Brentford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Neeskens Kebano (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Antonee Robinson with a cross.
Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Dominic Thompson (Brentford).