European Champions Chelsea were given a major scare as League 1 Brentford twice went ahead on a rough surface in west London.
There may only be a six-mile journey between these two sides, and two divisions apart, but there was no separating the two sides as the full-time whistle blew.
Chelsea, in actual fact, boast a wonderful FA Cup run, winning 15 of their last 16 FA Cup fourth round ties, losing the other on penalties to Everton, but the defeat could have been more humiliating here.
Trotta and Forrester had both helped their side lead against the Blues, but Oscar and then Torres made sure that blushes were spared and Chelsea did not go out of their sixth competition this season.
In perspective, it is quite humbling a fact that the starting eleven of Brentford cost what it would take to fund Fernando Torres’ salary for four mere days. Such is the disparity between these sides that truly brings out a terrific cup occasion.
It seems for Chelsea the days of heroism have long disappeared. Where fans were went into delirium when Di Matteo drew 2-2 at Barcelona with 10 men, to the dizzy heights managed by Benitez now of drawing 2-2 at Brentford. It could not be more contrasting, but such is Chelsea’s fortunes.
A cup already evaded them this week in the form of the Capital One Cup, but you would have been totally wrong had you thought Chelsea would up the tempo from the first minute.
Far from it. Brentford showed the character and hunger typically seen by a David when he meets Goliath, but Brentford were by no means inferior, and had some wonderful chances as afternoon went on.
And Chelsea by no account attempted to underestimate their local rivals, at least not in terms of the players on the pitch. John Terry, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic formed a mighty defence. Coupled with a sprinkling of Frank Lampard, Oscar and Torres, it was a side capable of thrashing Brentford into surrender.
But what Brentford lacked in star quality, they more than made up in resilience.
Forrester could have done better with his free-kick that went high over the bar, but Brentford would have been content with containing the likes of Marin when on the defence.
And they had something to hold on to just before the whistle blew for half-time.
Lampard was casual with the ball and ultimately punished. Forrester’s shot was parried by Turnbull into the path of Trotta, who swiped home to bring about an upset on the cards.
Rafael Benitez has not got a good record of holding motivational half-time team-talks, but whatever he did say this time round did seem to have an effect on his side.
The play about Chelsea seemed to be more urgent and direct, and it was rewarded with a fine goal ten minutes after the restart.
Oscar weaved his way in and out of the Brentford back-line and toe-poked the ball into the top corner, a majestic goal greeted with little celebration as reality dawned that just equalising was not good enough.
It became mostly Chelsea as the Blues looked to win this one without needed to physically exert themselves for another 90-minute replay, but the task became harder just after the 70-minute mark, as Brentford were awarded a penalty.
Ross Turnbull came sliding out to meet a through-ball, but got neither the ball nor the player, but Moss was assertive in awarding the spot-kick.
The stand-in keeper also got a yellow card for his troubles, and though contact looked minimal, he invited the call after the rash decision with compatriots Terry and Cahill back with him.
Up stepped Forrester to put Brentford back in front, and yet again Chelsea had to come from behind.
And with eight minutes to go, Fernando Torres delivered.
Demba Ba had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds, but his pass to Torres whilst rotating on the ground was inch-perfect, as the Spaniard then spun a leg around the ball to record a 2-2 score.
Torres has scored 15 goals this season – more than Rooney, Hernandez, Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko, Giroud, Podolski, Defoe and Cisse, but boasting penetration of sides like Brentford, Leicester and QPR hardly stands out.
Chelsea wanted the job done here and now, but Cahill’s over-head kick was well stopped by Moore, before Mata was denied a certain penalty, and these two sides will meet again in three week’s time.
- Rösler: Brentford deserved luck (guardian.co.uk)
- Brentford 2-2 Chelsea: Match report, pictures and video highlights (thesun.co.uk)