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Newcastle improvement spoils Christian Eriksen’s return to action

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Christian Eriksen completed his emotional return to football by making his Brentford debut as a second-half substitute against Newcastle – but the visitors took the Premier League points with a 2-0 win.

The former Tottenham and Inter Milan midfielder received a huge ovation when he came off the bench in the 52nd minute, 259 days after suffering cardiac arrest on the pitch in Denmark’s game against Finland at the Euro 2020.

The 30-year-old couldn’t prevent Brentford from being dragged further into the relegation battle after a 2-0 loss.

But the very fact that Eriksen, who revealed he was “dead for five minutes” at the Parken Stadion, stepped onto the pitch was cause enough for celebration.

Eriksen, who joined Brentford as a free agent in January, is the first Premier League footballer to play with an implantable heart defibrillator.

There was remarkable symmetry in the fact that he replaced Mathias Jensen, the Denmark team-mate who replaced Eriksen when he left the pitch on that trying day in June last year.

Eriksen was quick to get involved with his usual neat touches and occasional incisive passes, but unfortunately the situation he was introduced into was never likely to produce a fairy tale.

The Bees were already trailing 2-0 and down 10 men when Thomas Frank dispatched the man he described as ‘potentially the greatest to ever sign for the club’.

Now Frank must focus his attention on ensuring Eriksen’s six-month stint in west London doesn’t end in relegation.

Another Bees midfielder, Josh Dasilva, was making his first home start almost exactly a year after injury.

But it only lasted 11 minutes after he tried to shield the ball to plant his foot halfway up Matt Targett’s shin.

VAR alerted referee Mike Dean to the incident and after watching the replays – which didn’t look good – on the pitchside monitor, the official showed Dasilva a straight red card.

The initiative was firmly with Newcastle and they took the lead in the 33rd minute through Joelinton, whose only previous goal this season was against Brentford in the reverse, a 3-3 draw in Eddie Howe’s opener in charge.

Now thriving in his new midfield role under Howe, the Brazilian arrived at the far post to power Ryan Fraser’s cross through David Raya and into the net.

Joe Willock was hardly prolific either; his equalizer at West Ham last week was his first goal of the season.

But the former Arsenal winger scored twice in two games when he applied the finish to a bizarre goal that started with a Jensen corner and ended with the Brentford midfielder as the last man as Fabian Schar ran forward, before feeding Willock to head home. .

Eriksen’s entry may have lifted the crowd but it was another difficult afternoon for his new side, who suffered a seventh defeat in eight matches to slip under Newcastle’s rise and ever closer to the three last.