The final for the EFL Championship promotion playoffs is set, with Brentford and Swansea City booking their place in “the richest game in world football” and the 20th and final place in next season’s Premier League on the line.
[ MORE: Brentford beat Bournemouth in thriller, reach playoff final (video) ]
Brentford overturned a 1-0 deficit to Bournemouth with a 3-1 win (3-2 on aggregate) at the Brentford Community Stadium, and Swansea ended Barnsley’s season with a 1-1 draw (2-1 on aggregate) at the Liberty Stadium in south Wales.
Swansea City 1-1 Barnsley
Matt Grimes opened the scoring in Saturday’s second leg, doubling Swansea’s aggregate advantage with a perfectly placed left-footed curler from the edge of the penalty area. Longtime Swansea supporters will have immediately had their thoughts drawn to a famous goal scored by former captain and club legend Leon Britton in the Championship promotion playoff semifinals the last time the Swans won promotion to the Premier League 10 years ago.
10 years apart – Who did it best #Grimes vs #Leon ?? #swans pic.twitter.com/ZXgJ3bz2w9
— Huw Jones (@Huw_not_Hugh) May 22, 2021
Swansea looked like cruising into next Saturday’s final for some time after Grimes’ goal, but Cauley Woodrow slotted home a 71st-minute cross from Jordan Williams to make it 1-1 on the day and 2-1 on aggregate. With the away goals not in effect in the Championship promotion playoffs, all Barnsley needed was a second goal to send the tie to extra-time.
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Alas, USMNT striker Daryl Dike and Co., came up empty despite out-shooting Swansea 4-1 over the final 15 minutes. The 20-year-old’s loan from Orlando City is set to end in the coming days, at which point a club other than Barnsley is expected to make a transfer offer well into eight figures.
"… I just want to grow as a player, whether it be in Orlando, whether it be here in England, just anywhere." pic.twitter.com/WJiaKrzQHr
— Martin (@MartinLFC_) May 22, 2021
Swansea and Brentford met twice in the EFL Championship this season, with each side securing a satisfying 1-1 draw away from home — or, perhaps each side settling for an unsatisfying 1-1 draw at home. It’s all about perspective.
Championship promotion playoff final
Saturday, May 29 — 10 am ET — Wembley Stadium