BRENTFORD and Stoke will fly the flag for the EFL in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after knocking out Premier League opposition to get there.
The Bees gained a measure of revenge for their Championship play-off final defeat against Fulham by easing to a 3-0 home win against the Cottagers on Thursday night.
Marcus Forss fired in the opener on 37 minutes before the mercurial Said Benrahma struck twice in the second half to send Fulham packing.
He tucked home at the back post after the Bees worked a set-piece to make it 2-0 just after the hour mark and then conjured up a magnificent solo goal to put the game out of sight with 13 minutes left.
He cheekily back-flicked the ball through defender Michael Hector’s legs and then curled home from just outside the box.
The victory made it three Premier League scalps for the west London club in this season’s competition. They had already accounted for Southampton and West Brom.
Manager Thomas Frank couldn’t hide his delight after his players put the Bees into the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history.
“I think it’s massive for the fans, the players, staff and everyone involved with Brentford FC,” he said. “We are part of a new history by reaching the quarter-finals.
“I think it shows the development the club has been through over the last five or six years. We are now able to compete in the Championship and Carabao Cup.
“The first half was fairly even, though we were perhaps slightly on top. Fulham were on top for the first 15 minutes of the second half. We gave the ball away too easily, but we kept fighting and a good goal on a set-piece gave us control.”
Brentford will now host Newcastle in the last eight just before Christmas. Stoke also won through on Thursday night. Michael O’Neill’s Potters edged a tight game at last year’s finalists Aston Villa thanks to Sam Vokes’ 26th-minute header from a corner.
“It was a really good performance, I’m delighted,” said O’Neill. “We handled the game really well.
“I thought first half we were excellent, we played some creative football and had good possession of the ball.
“The shape of the team was excellent and when we were asked to defend in the latter stages of the game we did that extremely well.”
Stoke also have a home tie in the last eight, welcoming Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham to the bet365 Stadium.
League Two Newport County came within a whisker of joining the Championship duo in the quarter-finals.
Tristan Abrahams added to his growing reputation by giving the Exiles a fifth-minute lead against Steve Bruce’s Newcastle, but Jonjo Shelvey curled home a superb 87th-minute equaliser to take the tie to penalties. The Magpies then triumphed 5-4 on spot-kicks to break Newport hearts.
Exiles boss Michael Flynn said: “I am very proud. I couldn’t be prouder if I tried – we were excellent. We have a fantastic group and it has taken a moment of magic to deny us.
“I know they had chances, but I thought we were brilliant and defended superbly. The players Newcastle brought on was a big compliment and they did have a fair bit of possession, but we kept our shape and composure.
“Jonjo Shelvey is the only player on the pitch who can put it in the top corner from that position.”
There were five all-Premier League ties in the last 16: Manchester City and Manchester United won 3-0 at Burnley and Brighton respectively, while Everton thrashed West Ham 4-1.
Tottenham beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw and their north London neighbours Arsenal won by the same score on spot-kicks after a goalless draw at Liverpool.