STOKE CITY’S hopes of enjoying another good FA Cup run were dashed by Argentinian defender Pablo Zabaletta . . . as Manchester City repeated their one-goal success in the Final two years ago with a victory at the Britannia Stadium.
Zabaletta made the most of an unfortunate slip by Ryan Shotton to fire home his late winner and finish off a move he had begun deep in his own half when he halted Matthew Etherington in his tracks.
It was a rare goalscoring opportunity in a close-fought game which in many respects mirrored the Wembley Stadium showpiece in May 2011.
The Potters had a goal disallowed in the first half when captain Ryan Shawcross was ruled offside as he put the ball in the back of the net from close range, but that was a rare moment when they threatened to break down the champions’ resistance.
Even the loss of their captain Vincent Kompany through injury couldn’t upset the visitors who were unlucky when David Silva hit the post with a curling shot.
It was the first time that Roberto Mancini’s side had won at the Britannia Stadium since the Potters’ return to the top-flight and the last five games had ended in 1-1 draws.
That was so nearly the outcome on this occasion when a chance fell to substitute Cameron Jerome in injury-time but he blazed his shot high over the bar.
Photos courtesy of stokecityfcpics.com, Action Images and Getty Images.