Bojan Krkic made his long-awaited return to action as Stoke City were beaten 2-0 by Championship side Brentford in their latest pre-season fixture.
Former Barcelona forward Bojan made a huge impact in his first season at the Britannia Stadium, only to then suffer a season-ending cruciate ligament injury to his left knee in a January FA Cup tie at Rochdale.
Almost six months to the day since limping off at Spotland, Bojan was introduced as a substitute at the start of the second half on Saturday.
Yet while that represented a welcome sight for Stoke supporters, Mark Hughes’ men were on the wrong side of the result at Griffin Park as goals from Akaki Gogia and Stuart Dallas saw the hosts secure victory.
Stoke handed a debut to recent arrival Glen Johnson, while Jack Butland and Ryan Shawcross enjoyed their first outings of pre-season – the latter having been troubled by back problems in recent weeks.
Shawcross played an inadvertent role in the 33rd-minute opener, as Brentford debutant Gogia let fly from distance and saw his ambitious strike deflect off Stoke’s captain to leave Butland helpless.
Bojan’s introduction failed to inspire a turnaround for the Premier League side in the second half and Butland made a fine save to deny Nico Yennaris prior to Dallas powerfully volleying home a corner with 16 minutes remaining.
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