- Last minute Henriksen goal eliminates the Potters from the EFL Cup
- Hosts took the lead through Arnautovic before Mason pegged Stoke back
STOKE CITY were eliminated from the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening as Hull City produced a smash and grab raid at the bet365 Stadium to secure themselves a spot in the last 16.
Marko Arnautovic’s stunning effort midway through the first-half looked to have had the Potters en-course for a first home triumph of the campaign.
The hosts were dominant and maybe should have gone into the break two or three goals in front, with both Joe Allen and Ramadan going close.
However, the visitors delivered a sucker punch seconds before the interval when Ryan Mason somehow latched onto a cross-field ball and flicked an effort over debutant Lee Grant and into the back of the net.
A setback indeed, but Mark Hughes’ troops responded well and continued to assert themselves on the Tigers with some slick interchange in the opposition’s half of the field.
Ramadan, who was shining in his first start with his flair and creativity, produced two stunning balls to Giannelli Imbula and Wilfried Bony but neither were able to convert from close range.
Austrian maverick Arnautovic whipped a curling free-kick inches wide of the post as the hosts looked to restore their advantage, and the introduction of Charlie Adam and Mame Diouf only aided the home side’s dominance.
There was always a sense that it may just not be Stoke’s night, especially when Diouf saw a close range effort acrobatically saved by Hull debutant David Marshall and then when the stopper somehow clawed Ramadan’s point-blank effort from off the line.
Mike Phelan ordered his side to keep hold of the ball during the latter stages in a bid to null Hughes’ troops’ threat, but it was he who was celebrating the most unlikely of winners in stoppage time.
Adam, who had made an impression on the game, got caught out just outside his own penalty area, Dieumerci Mbokani stole the ball off him, squared it to Markus Henriksen and he rifled past Lee Grant to send the Tigers through.
They say that fortune favours the brave, but that certainly wasn’t the case at the bet365 Stadium as Hull somehow prolonged their stay in a competition that they undoubtedly should been sent packing from.
Mark Hughes opted to make four changes to his starting line-up from the side that succumbed to a heavy defeat at Selhurst Park three days earlier.
Two of the inclusions in the eleven were Egyptian international Ramadan and goalkeeper Lee Grant - both of whom were handed their starting debuts for the Club.
Ramadan, who arrived from Al Ahly in the summer, was full of flair and creativity and twice went close to assisting the opening goal of the evening with tremendous runs down the left and equally as inviting balls into the box.
Clearly eager to get on the ball, the 19-year-old was a nuisance to the Tigers’ backline throughout proceedings and undoubtedly put himself firmly in Hughes’ thoughts for Saturday’s fixture with West Brom.
He arguably should have won the match for his side when he was presented with a golden opportunity 15 minutes from time, but his effort from point-blank range was somehow saved by David Marshall.
Meanwhile, Grant, who joined on loan from Derby on deadline day, was a relative bystander on his home debut.
He was at no fault for either of Hull’s two goals, with Mason’s first a sublime, or fortuitous, effort and Henriksen’s late match-winner a thumping effort from 8-yards.
Both will feel they have done enough to retain their spots at the weekend, although that decision ultimately falls to the manager, who will be left ruing his luck.