Toney hat trick, Eriksen helps as Brentford tops Norwich 3-1
NORWICH, England (AP) — A hat trick from Ivan Toney saw Brentford claim a vital 3-1 win at last-placed Norwich in the English Premier League on the day Christian Eriksen took another positive step in his remarkable recovery.
Eriksen played the whole match for the Bees on Saturday and had a hand in the first two goals, almost nine months on from his cardiac arrest during the European Championship.
It was Eriksen’s corner which helped set up Toney’s opener in the 32nd before a second set-piece forced a penalty early in the second half, when Ben Gibson caught Pontus Jansson with a high foot.
Toney converted in the 52nd and Gibson’s misery was compounded soon after when he committed another foul inside the area and Toney completed his treble in the 58th.
Teemu Pukki hit a late consolation for Norwich, which was five points adrift of safety.
All eyes were on the team news at Carrow Road and with it came confirmation Eriksen was making his first competitive start since June 12, when he collapsed while playing for Denmark against Finland at Euro 2020.
He was heavily involved early on, setting up two chances for Bryan Mbeumo in a frantic start.
The hosts appeared to have the momentum when Pukki saw a low shot saved by goalkeeper David Raya, with Josh Sargent off target on the turn soon after.
The visitors’ moment was to come, though, with Tim Krul tested sufficiently for the first time just past the half an hour mark when Sergi Canos had a snap-shot tipped behind by the Dutchman for a corner.
It gave Eriksen a chance to display his dead-ball prowess and the Brentford set-piece routine worked a treat to force the opener. Kristoffer Ajer flicked on Eriksen’s near-post corner and Toney was at the back post to volley home.
Norwich tried to hit back but the only other moment of note prior to the break saw Eriksen booked for a cynical foul on Brandon Williams, an incident which ended with the defender initially furious with Eriksen only to hug his opponent on the ground when realizing who it was.
It highlighted the former Tottenham player’s willingness to get stuck in and perhaps the hesitation of opponents to do the same on him.
After Norwich was booed off at halftime, the home team wanted a penalty early into the second period but Mbuemo’s coming together with Williams was deemed accidental before the visitors won a spot kick.
Eriksen’s corner was headed on by Jansson, who went down after Gibson caught him with a high boot. VAR told referee Anthony Taylor, who had been the official at Parken Stadium last June when Eriksen collapsed, to use the pitchside monitor and he pointed to the spot.
Toney calmly slotted into the bottom left corner to double the Bees’ advantage and soon repeated the trick.
Gibson was again the guilty party, bringing down the forward, and Toney fired into exactly the same spot to complete his hat trick and net for the 11th time this season.
VAR denied Rashica in the 67th minute and Mbeumo had a similar fate soon after, with both efforts ruled out for offside. Pukki reduced the deficit with a stoppage-time volley.
It was Brentford’s day, though, with a first league win in nine attempts enough to move it six points clear of the relegation zone.
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