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2017/18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Sergi Canós (16')
  • Florian Jozefzoon (69')
  • Idrissa Sylla (45'+2')

Brentford close on play-offs with win over local rivals

Brentford moved to within a point of the Championship play offs with a pulsating 2-1 win over west London derby rivals QPR.
Goals in either half from Sergi Canos and Florian Jozefzoon were enough to clinch the three points after Idrissa Sylla had given Rangers hope with an equaliser just before the break.
The Bees took the lead in the 16th minute when Rangers failed to clear a corner and Canos rifled the ball into the roof of the net from five yards.
The visitors hit back in first half added time with their only effort of a one-sided first half when Massimo Luongo's angled drive was brilliantly saved by Daniel Bentley, only for Sylla to stroke home the rebound.
But Dean Smith's side clinched the points to keep them in the promotion chase when Dutch winger Jozefzoon curled home a sublime winner on 69 minutes after cutting in from the right and picking his spot inside the far post from 15 yards.
The Bees squandered a golden chance to make it two five minutes before the break when Romaine Sawyers trickery carved the visitors' defence in two with a slide rule pass that put Ollie Watkins through on goal.
Rangers keeper Matt Ingram was quick off his line but hauled the striker down and referee Andrew Madley had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but only issued a yellow card to the fury of the Griffin Park crowd.
Watkins stepped up but saw his penalty saved by the keeper, who needed lengthy treatment before finally being replaced just before the break by Alex Smithies.
The late leveller was harsh on a Bees side that dominated for long spells, but picked up two yellow cards for some adrenaline-fuelled challenges.
Watkins was always a threat and forced a full length save from Ingram with six minutes gone, before Canos' first goal since December broke the deadlock.
Watkins fired straight at the stopper on the half hour before he ran the full length of the pitch two minutes later, only to screw his shot just past the upright.
He went even closer after 38 minutes when he latched onto a clever build-up and smashed an angled drive against the outside of the post.
After the break the Bees had goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to thank when he tipped Luongo's dipping drive over the bar on the hour mark.
At the other end Canos thought he had grabbed the winner minutes later but Smithies got down well to tip his angled downward header around the upright.
But it was only a brief reprieve as Jozefzoon fired the decider past a helpless Smithies in the next attack.
The stand-in keeper had to be on his toes seconds later after another lightning-quick counter ended with Sawyers' side footed effort which lacked power.
Brentford saw the game out but had a heart-in-mouth moment in the dying minutes when Luongo's looping header from a long throw went the wrong side of the angle.

English League Championship Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Norwich City 34 +24 66
2 Sheffield United 34 +25 64
3 Leeds United 33 +18 64
4 West Bromwich Albion 34 +24 60
5 Middlesbrough 33 +14 57
6 Bristol City 32 +9 53
7 Derby County 32 +6 51
8 Birmingham City 33 +9 47
9 Nottingham Forest 33 +8 47
10 Preston North End 34 +5 47
11 Aston Villa 34 +4 45
12 Swansea City 33 +1 44
13 Hull City 33 -1 44
14 Blackburn Rovers 34 -7 44
15 Sheffield Wednesday 33 -9 44
16 Brentford 32 +11 43
17 Stoke City 34 -7 41
18 Queens Park Rangers 33 -11 39
19 Wigan Athletic 33 -14 35
20 Millwall 33 -12 34
21 Reading 34 -15 30
22 Rotherham United 34 -20 30
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 -31 26
24 Ipswich Town 34 -31 21