Brentford moved into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals as first-half goals from Sergi Canos and Ivan Toney secured a 2-1 win at Stoke.
Canos struck the opener in the 22nd minute and Toney added a second for the visitors – who reached the semi-finals of the competition last season – with a 40th-minute finish.
Former Brentford man Romaine Sawyers pulled a goal back in the 57th minute, but Michael O’Neill’s Stoke were unable to save themselves from elimination as their losing streak continued after three successive defeats in the Championship.
Brentford will now wait to see who they will face in the last eight when the draw is made on Soccer AM, live on Sky Sports from 10.30am, on Saturday.
It was a return to winning ways for Thomas Frank’s Bees, meanwhile, following the back-to-back Premier League losses against Chelsea and Leicester.
Frank made eight changes to his starting line-up from the Leicester match, with Toney, Canos and Mathias Jensen the trio retained.
Toney – skipper for the night – was just unable to divert a cross past Joe Bursik on the stretch in the second minute of the contest, and Marcus Forss sent an effort wide of the Stoke goal from a good position in the 17th minute.
As Brentford applied further pressure, Toney saw one strike blocked, then Canos had another turned behind by Bursik.
And when the resulting corner was delivered, Forss gave the ball to Toney, whose lay-off was drilled in from the edge of the box by Canos, with Sawyers unable to stop the shot on the line.
Stoke, whose starting XI showed five adjustments, subsequently registered their first real attempt just before the half-hour mark as Steven Fletcher brought a save out of Alvaro Fernandez.
The hosts were then punished for losing possession towards the end of the half, with the ball being worked via Saman Ghoddos to Forss and then Toney, who slotted past Bursik for number two.
Brentford soon threatened again after the break as Bursik parried a Toney strike and saw Jensen put a follow-up attempt across the face of goal.
O’Neill then brought on Mario Vrancic for Alfie Doughty and within moments the Bosnian had helped reduce the deficit as he delivered a corner from the left, the ball came to Sawyers and he crashed a shot home against his old club in fine style.
As Stoke pushed for a leveller, Vrancic shot too high and substitute Abdallah Sima sent a header just wide of the far post – which proved the closest they would come.
At the other end, Brentford substitutes Frank Onyeka and Rico Henry saw efforts blocked and go over respectively.
Toney and Tariqe Fosu-Henry, another substitute, then each had good chances to wrap things up late on, only be thwarted by good Bursik saves – before the final whistle confirmed Frank’s men had done enough for a last-eight spot.
When is the draw for the Carabao Cup quarter-finals?
The quarter-final draw will take place live on Soccer AM this Saturday from 10.30am
Hosts Fenners and Jimmy Bullard will be conducting the draw, which will be live on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Football, Soccer AM’s YouTube channel and the EFL’s Twitter account.
Carabao Cup 2021/22 schedule…
- Quarter-finals: December 21 and 22
- Semi-finals: January 4/5 and 11/12
- Final: February 27
What’s next for Stoke and Brentford?
Burnley host Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday at 3pm while Stoke host Cardiff City in the Championship at the same time.