A double from Said Benrahma helped Brentford go some way to avenging their play-off final defeat by earning his side a 3-0 victory over local rivals Fulham to book a spot in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Looking to banish the memory of their Wembley defeat to Fulham on August 4, Brentford were much the better side in the first half and deservedly took the lead in the 37th minute through Marcus Forss.
Fulham improved after the interval, but they were made to pay for several missed chances when Benrahma arrived at the back post to tap home his first of the season, on his first start, in the 62nd minute.
With the Premier League newboys all over the place at the back, Benrahma gave the watching scouts plenty to ponder as he scored a brilliant third 13 minutes from time to compound Fulham’s misery.
Anthony Knockaert vies for the ball with Dominic Thompson
Image credit: Getty Images
Almost two months after agonising defeat to their bitter rivals, Brentford named a strong side at the Brentford Community Stadium, and played the better of the football early on.
Neeskens Kebano did go closest in the opening exchanges, but his brilliant free-kick came out off the post before, with the move of the half, Brentford carved Fulham opened to take the lead, with debutant Saman Ghoddos squaring for Forss to score.
After the break, the introduction of Ademola Lookman, who only signed for Fulham on loan from Leipzig on Wednesday, gave Fulham more of an attacking edge. David Raya denied Kebano with a fine stop before Jean Michael Seri, on a rare start, missed from a good position.
Benrahma had no such trouble down the other end, as last season’s 17-goal man tapped home at the far post, before showing some outrageous skill to nutmeg Michael Hector before putting the game to bed, in style.
Just when will Fulham learn defensively? It has really been a baptism of fire for Fulham back in the big time, with their backline looking vulnerable in the extreme, and it was no different against the local rivals.
There was nothing Fulham could have done with Benrahma's brilliant third goal, but the first two were far too easy for Brentford to cut through Fulham.
In truth, it could have been more, such were the errors at the back. Owner Tony Khan took to Twitter to controversially apologise for Fulham's defending at the weekend, and he will fell like doing the same after this.
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MAN OF THE MATCH - Said Benrahma
It is remarkable that more clubs have not come in for the man many believe was the real star of Brentford's 2019/20 season. He must fancy a move to Crystal Palace, who remain interested, after this showing when given his chance to show what he can do. The third goal was of real top-flight quality.
Brentford: Raya 6, Thompson 7, Pinnock 7, Sorensen 6, Fosu 6, Dasilva 7, Marconcdes 6, Jensen 6, Benrahma 8, Forss 7, Ghoddos 8... Subs: Norgaard 6, Canos 6, Stevens 6.
Fulham: Rodak 6; Aina 5, Hector 4, Le Marchand 4, Robinson 5; Knockaert 5, Johansen 5, Onomah 5, Seri 4, Kebano 6; Kamara 3... Subs: Odoi 6, Lookman 7, Mitrovic 6.
10’ - POST! What an effort from Kebano, who is something of a dead-ball specialist, as he clips a free-kick over the wall, it beats David Raya in the Brentford goal, but comes out off the outside of the post.
37’ - GGGGGOOOOOAALLLLLL!!! Brentford 1-0 Fulham. Forss to the fore as he gives the Bees the lead! A lovely, sweeping move from the home side, newboy Ghoddos feeds the ball across for the onrushing Forss, who rifles into the net, first time. Fine, fine goal.
51’ - SAVE! There it is! Better from Fulham as Lookman immediately makes an impact, picks out Johansen, who pulls the ball back for Kebano, The Fulham forward pokes for goal, but Raya springs across his goal to make a superb save.
59’ - MISS! Brilliant from Lookman again as he picks out Seri, on the edge of the box, in plenty of space, but he gets underneath his shot and the ball loops well over the top.
62’ - GGGGGOOOOOAAALLLL!!! Brentford 2-0 Fulham. Awful defending from Fulham as Benrahma makes it two. Free-kick into the middle finds Ethan Pinnock, who loops a header towards the back post, and Benrahma arrives right on cue to score his first of the season. Killer goal for Fulham, who were on top. Undone, again, by their poor defending.
78’ - GGGGGOOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!!!! Brentford 3-0 Fulham. Brilliant from Benrahma as he puts this game to bed. Premier League quality from the in-demand Benrahma. Lovely flick through Hector's legs from the Brentford superstar, before curling a sumptuous finish into the net. More suitors are sure to come calling after that.
Since making his Brentford debut in August 2018, Saïd Benrahma has been directly involved in 54 goals in all competitions (29 goals & 25 assists), more than any other player for the Bees.
Four of Marcus Forss' six goals for Brentford in all competitions have come in his seven EFL Cup appearances for the club (two goals in 11 apps in other competitions). Forss has found the net in each of his last three appearances for the Bees.