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2021 EFL Championship play-off Final
Wembley Stadium, illuminated.jpg
Report
Date29 May 2021 (2021-05-29)
VenueWembley Stadium, London
Man of the MatchFlag of Denmark Emiliano Marcondes
RefereeChris Kavanagh
Attendance11,689
2020

The 2021 EFL Championship play-off Final was an association football match which was played on 29 May 2021 at Wembley Stadium, London, to determine the third and final team to gain promotion from the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football, to the Premier League. The top two teams of the 2020–21 EFL Championship, Norwich City and Watford, gained automatic promotion to the Premier League, while the clubs placed from third to sixth place in the table took part in 2021 English Football League play-offs. Brentford and Swansea City competed for the final place for the 2021–22 season in the Premier League, and Brentford ended up the winning team.

This was Brentford's second consecutive play-off final after losing in extra-time to West London Derby rivals Fulham in the 2020 EFL Championship play-off Final on 4 August 2020.

Winning the final and promotion was estimated to be worth £178 million to the successful team.

Route to the final

Brentford finished the regular 2020–21 season in third place – for the second successive season – in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system, one place and seven points ahead of Swansea City. They therefore missed out on the two automatic places for promotion to the Premier League and instead took part in the play-offs to determine the third and final promoted team. They finished 4 points behind Watford (who were promoted in second place) and 10 behind league winners Norwich City. They had gone seven games unbeaten towards the end of the season, starting with a 5–0 away win against Preston North End on 10 April and ending with a final-day 3–1 home victory against Bristol City on 8 May 2021.

In their play-off semi-final, Brentford faced Bournemouth with the first match of the two-legged tie played at the Vitality Stadium in Boscombe on 17 May 2021 in front of 2,000 Bournemouth fans as part of the pilot scheme to get fans back into stadiums after the recent lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in England. After a goalless first half, Arnaut Danjuma scored on the counter-attack in the 55th minute from a through ball from David Brooks. It was the game's only goal as Bournemouth won 1–0. The second leg of the semi-final was played five days later at the Brentford Community Stadium – the first play-off semi-final to be played at the stadium – in front of 4,000 Brentford fans. Danjuma increased Bournemouth's aggregate lead in the first five minutes. However, Brentford were awarded a penalty 11 minutes later which Ivan Toney scored and then 12 minutes later Bournemouth were reduced to ten players when Chris Mepham was sent off. The first half ended 1–1. Five minutes after the interval, Vitaly Janelt scored for Brentford to make it 2–1 to Brentford on the day and 2–2 on aggregate. With nine minutes of the match remaining, Marcus Forss scored for Brentford to make it 3–1 to them on the day. Brentford qualified for the final 3–2 on aggregate.

Swansea City's opposition for their semi-final were Barnsley and the first leg was held at the Oakwell in Barnsley on 17 May 2021 in front of an attendance of 4,000 supporters. André Ayew opened the scoring in the 39th minute with a curling left-footed shot past Bradley Collins in the Barnsley goal. Carlton Morris hit Swansea City's crossbar in second-half injury time but the match ended 1–0. The second leg was played five days later at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. Matt Grimes extended the home side's aggregate lead six minutes before half-time with a curling strike. In the 71st minute, Cauley Woodrow scored for Barnsley from the edge of the Swansea penalty area, and with no further scoring, the match ended 1–1 with Swansea City progressing to the final with a 2–1 aggregate victory.

Match

Background

This is Swansea's second Championship play-off final, having won the 2011 Football League Championship play-off Final 4–2 against Reading. They also lost in the third-tier final in 2006 on penalties to Barnsley at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. They have played in the Championship since being relegated from the Premier League in the 2017–18 season, and had lost in the previous season's play-offs at the semi-final stage, losing 3–2 on aggregate to Brentford. Brentford had failed to win in four play-off final attempts: they lost the 1997 Football League Second Division play-off Final 1–0 against Crewe Alexandra, were defeated 2–0 in the 2002 Football League Second Division play-off Final by Stoke City, lost to Yeovil Town in the 2013 Football League One play-off Final 2–1 and were beaten in extra-time by West London Derby rivals Fulham in the 2020 EFL Championship play-off Final. They have also lost in five play-off semi-finals. Brentford had not played in the top flight of English football for 73 years, having been relegated to the second tier in their 1946–47 season.

Brentford's Ivan Toney was the Championship's top scorer during the regular season with 32 goals while Ayew was Swansea City's leading scorer with 17 goals, followed by Jamal Lowe on 14. Both matches between the sides during the regular season ended as 1–1 draws, the first at the Brentford Community Stadium in November 2020 and the second at the Liberty Stadium the following January.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the capacity was originally limited to 10,000. Following an appeal to the UK government and to footballing authorities, the capacity was raised to 12,000, the two clubs distributing 10,000 tickets betweeen themselves. Winning the final and promotion was estimated to be worth £178 million to the successful team.

Details

29 May 2021
15:00 BST
Brentford 2–0 Swansea City Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 11,689
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Toney Goal 10' (pen.)
Marcondes Goal 20'
Report Fulton Red card 65'
Brentford
Swansea City
GK 1 Flag of Spain David Raya
CB 22 Flag of Denmark Henrik Dalsgaard
CB 18 Flag of Sweden Pontus Jansson (C) Substituted off in the 79th minute 79'
CB 5 Flag of Jamaica Ethan Pinnock
RM 30 Flag of Denmark Mads Roerslev
CM 8 Flag of Denmark Mathias Jensen
CM 27 Flag of Germany Vitaly Janelt Booked in the 70th minute 70' Substituted off in the 74th minute 74'
LM 7 Flag of Spain Sergi Canós Substituted off in the 74th minute 74'
AM 9 Flag of Denmark Emiliano Marcondes Booked in the 22nd minute 22' Substituted off in the 90+2th minute 90+2'
CF 17 Flag of England Ivan Toney
CF 19 Flag of France Bryan Mbeumo
Substitutes:
GK 28 Flag of England Luke Daniels
DF 4 Flag of England Charlie Goode
DF 23 Flag of New Zealand Winston Reid Substituted on in the 79th minute 79'
DF 36 Flag of Wales Fin Stevens
MF 6 Flag of Denmark Christian Nørgaard
MF 20 Flag of Iran Saman Ghoddos Substituted on in the 74th minute 74'
MF 24 Flag of Ghana Tariqe Fosu
MF 41 Flag of Denmark Mads Bidstrup Substituted on in the 90+2th minute 90+2'
FW 15 Flag of Finland Marcus Forss Substituted on in the 74th minute 74'
Head Coach:
Flag of Denmark Thomas Frank
GK 1 Flag of England Freddie Woodman
CB 26 Flag of England Kyle Naughton Substituted off in the 60th minute 60'
CB 44 Flag of Wales Ben Cabango
CB 5 Flag of England Marc Guéhi
DM 8 Flag of England Matt Grimes (C) Booked in the 6th minute 6'
RM 23 Flag of Wales Connor Roberts
CM 6 Flag of Scotland Jay Fulton Red card 65'
CM 14 Flag of Republic of Ireland Conor Hourihane Substituted off in the 63rd minute 63'
LM 24 Flag of England Jake Bidwell Substituted off in the 83rd minute 83'
CF 10 Flag of Ghana André Ayew
CF 9 Flag of Jamaica Jamal Lowe
Substitutes:
GK 18 Flag of England Ben Hamer
DF 2 Flag of England Ryan Bennett
DF 3 Flag of Republic of Ireland Ryan Manning Substituted on in the 83rd minute 83'
DF 22 Flag of England Joel Latibeaudiere
DF 34 Flag of Wales Kieron Freeman
MF 7 Flag of England Korey Smith
MF 21 Flag of England Yan Dhanda Substituted on in the 63rd minute 63'
FW 17 Flag of England Morgan Whittaker
FW 20 Flag of Wales Liam Cullen Substituted on in the 60th minute 60'
Head Coach:
Flag of Wales Steve Cooper

Man of the Match:

Statistics
Brentford Swansea City
Possession 43% 57%
Goals scored 2 0
Shots on target 3 0
Shots off target 5 7
Fouls committed 16 13
Corner kicks 4 3
Yellow cards 2 1
Red cards 0 1

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