London, July 26, 2020 (AFP) - Andre Ayew fired Swansea to a 1-0 victory against 10-man Brentford in Sunday's Championship play-off semifinal first leg as the Ghana striker recovered from missing a penalty to grab the late winner.
Ayew saw his spot-kick saved by Brentford keeper David Raya in the second half at the Liberty Stadium.
But the former Marseille and West Ham star shrugged off that blow to score with a superb strike nine minutes from full-time.
Brentford had Rico Henry sent off for a studs-up lunge on Swansea right-back Connor Roberts soon after Ayew's penalty miss.
Steve Cooper's side will take their slender lead to Griffin Park for the second leg on Wednesday.
Swansea's south Wales rivals Cardiff host Fulham in the other play-off semi-final first leg on Monday.
Brentford and Swansea have taken contrasting routes to the playoffs.
Heading into Wednesday's final day of the regular season, Brentford were in with a chance of automatic promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 73 years.
But Thomas Frank's team were beaten by lowly Barnsley, while West Bromwich Albion's draw with QPR was enough to clinch second place above the Bees.
Swansea were underdogs to make the playoffs with just minutes left in their last game at Reading, but a late goal-blitz gave them a 4-1 win.
That result combined with Nottingham Forest's 4-1 loss against Stoke was enough to lift Swansea into the top six on goal difference.
Bidding to return to the Premier League after a two-year absence, Swansea were on top for long periods against Brentford.
Ayew's first-half header hit the post before Raya smothered the rebound from on-loan Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster.
Brentford's Said Benrahma squandered his side's best chance when he blazed over.
Swansea won their penalty in the 63rd minute as Ayew found Brewster and he was brought down by Brentford captain Pontus Jansson.
Ayew tried to fool Raya with a stutter-step before his penalty, but the keeper stuck his hand out to save.
Just moments later, Henry saw red for his foul on Roberts and Ayew made Brentford pay in the 81st minute.
Conor Gallagher dinked a pass to Jay Fulton in the Brentford area and he laid off for Ayew to smash a half-volley into the roof of the net.
The 30-year-old's 18th goal of the season will prove priceless if Swansea can seal their place in the Wembley final.