LONDON: Uwe Rosler’s words before third division Brentford’s unlikely 2:2 draw with embarrassed European champions Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round proved wonderfully prophetic.
He had said: “We need an extraordinary day, we need luck, we need players who play over their normal capacity and we need to stay as long as we can in the game. The longer the game goes on, the more our chances will go up.”
That was exactly how it proved.
This was the first meeting between Bees and Blues since 1950 when Chelsea won 1-0 in the FA Cup third round in front of 38,000 fans in days when Brentford had only just fallen out of the top division.
The extent of their slide since then was evidenced by the fact that this 12,000 crowd was Brentford’s largest in 30 years.
They have spent most of the last 63 years sunk in the lower divisions but are currently floating back up in the third division under manager Rösler, sporting director Mark Warburton and owner Matthew Benham, an online gambling tycoon.
Benham’s enthusiasm for continental club football and the Next-Gen junior European competition had opened his mind to the appointment of a foreign manager. Rosler thus returned to English football in 2011 after spells in Norway with Lillestrom, Viking and Molde.
The one-time DDR international was top scorer three seasons in a row for pre-jackpot Manchester City after being enthused by the English game during his school days in Leipzig.
He has worked effectively at Brentford over two years during which Chelsea have gone through three managers and has just signed a two-year contract extension taking him through to 2015.
His Swansea-type, hard-working, neat-passing style of play has been rewarded with a third place in the third division though a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup may prove beyond them.
Chelsea handed fit-again skipper John Terry his first start in 11 weeks but rested Petr Cech and it was a mistake by replacement goalkeeper Ross Turnbull which handed the Bees a 42nd-minute opening goal for Italian Marcello Trotta, on loan from Fulham.
Oscar scored a classy equaliser 10 minutes into the second half but Brentford regained the lead with a 73rd-minute penalty from 22-year-old Harry Forrester after newly-arrived substitute Tom Adeyemi had fallen over the Turnbull’s challenge.
The goalkeeper was fortunate to be shown ‘only’ a yellow card and he as well as Chelsea – and their embattled interim manager Rafa Benitez – were eventually rescued by Fernando Torres’s 82nd-minute equaliser.
Brentford had luck on their own side in stoppage time when Harlee Dean handled an attempted cross from Juan Mata but referee Jonathan Moss waved play on.
Chelsea’s players argued vehemently for a penalty but should have been grateful to have escaped with a replay.
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