STOKE CITY 2 (Pieters 30, Bojan 43)
REAL BETIS 0
GOALS from Erik Pieters and Bojan ensured Stoke City fine-tuned their preparations for the new campaign with a convincing victory over Spanish second-tier side Real Betis on Wednesday evening.
The Potters were full value for their victory – producing their most polished outing of the pre-season campaign thus far in front of over 10,000 spectators at the Britannia Stadium.
Dutch international Pieters got notched his second Britannia Stadium goal from 12-yards 30 minutes in; rounding off a sublime passage of play that included neat touches from both Bojan and Phil Bardsley.
Former Barcelona star Bojan netted his third in as many games courtesy of a thumping effort from 15-yards shortly before the interval, after he had brushed aside a Betis defender en-route to rifling home.
The margin of victory could have been even greater had Mame Diouf and Peter Odemwingie managed to have turned home good opportunities either side of the break.
That said, the Spaniards had chances of their own to get on the score-sheet, but once again Asmir Begovic was in inspired form when called upon, and even on the occasions he was beaten there was no cause for celebration for the visitors as the upright twice came to the Potters’ rescue.
The performance and application from the hosts will undoubtedly have pleased boss Mark Hughes, who will also have been delighted to have seen his players gain further game time ahead of the season opener in ten days’ time.
All five summer acquisitions made their Britannia Stadium bows with Bojan, Diouf and Bardsley all starting, whilst Steve Sidwell and Dionatan Teixeira were introduced as second half substitutes.
The only disappointment on the evening was the sight of Spanish ace Marc Muniesa limping off late on, although the injury he sustained doesn’t appear to have been too serious.
STOKE CITY: Begovic; Bardsley (Teixeira 86), Shawcross (c) (Cameron 46), Wilson, Pieters (Muniesa 64 (Huth 84)); Whelan (Adam 70), Nzonzi (Sidwell); Bojan (Walters 79), Ireland, Arnautovic (Crouch 79); Diouf (Odemwingie 46). Sub not used: Butland.