Stoke City 4-0 FC Altstatten
The Potters got their campaign off to a great start with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over local outfit FC Altstatten.
After Dale Eve was called into action early on to superbly deny a powerful drive with his legs, City’s youngsters took control of the game and went ahead in the 7th minute when James Alabi raced to the byline before playing the ball across to Tomi Adeloye who finished from two yards.
Mason Watkins then saw a 25-yard free-kick tipped just over by the Altstatten ‘keeper before Stoke doubled their lead seconds before the half-time whistle when Ryan O’Reilly stooped to head in Eddy Lecygne’s deep free-kick.
The Potters remained on top after the break and went further ahead when James Alabi finished from the penalty spot after being brought down inside the area.
Glyn Hodges’ side rounded off a complete performance when Jack Nardiello surged down the left and crossed to the edge of-the-six-yard area where the ball was bundled into the net by an Altstatten defender when under heavy pressure from Lecygne.
Stoke City 1-1 Liechtenstein
City were unable follow up their victory against the hometown team when they had to settle for a point against the Liechtenstein U19s.
Despite dominating for long periods, Peter Skapetis’ early strike was cancelled out a minute before the interval and Stoke were unable to find a winner in the second period.
The Potters had made a positive start to proceedings as Skapetis saw an effort deflect over, before the Australian Under-23 forward forced the opposition keeper into a smart save to tip the ball behind for a corner.
However, he wasn’t to be denied seconds later from the resulting corner as he swivelled and fired into the back of the net from six yards after the ball broke his way.
Skapetis was continuing to be a menace for Liechtenstein as he once more tested the keeper before Joel Taylor fired just over after working space for himself.
The national side were to land a sucker punch seconds before the half-time whistle as Dennis Salanovic cut inside and curled an effort into the bottom corner from the edge-of-the-area.
Mason Watkins pulled off a great last-ditched challenge just after the break to keep the scores level before City once more went on to control the game.
Skapetis and Jack Nardiello both had strong appeals for a penalty turned down whilst Kieran Monlouis went close.
Stoke pounded the Liechtenstein goal and after Jack Nardiello was denied by the assistant referees flag for offside, James Alabi had City’s last chance to try and grab a winner but the striker’s overhead effort went just wide.
Stoke City 0-2 Atletico Paranaense
The Potters rounded off the group stage with a 2-0 defeat to Atletico Paranaense with the Brazilian outfit scoring at the start and end of the second half.
In a game which City knew that at least a draw would guarantee them a place in the semi-finals it turned out that despite suffering defeat Glyn Hodges’ side made it through to face Club Brugge.
Atletico were quick out of the blocks and twice went close with efforts which drifted narrowly off target, before Mason Watkins forced the opposition keeper into a smart save from 25 yards.
The Brazilians took the lead with seconds remaining of the first period when forward Dominic latched onto a defence-splitting ball to coolly finish past Dale Eve in the City goal.
Stoke worked hard to find a route back into the game but ultimately couldn’t find one and after Ryan O’Reilly made a crucial clearance for the Potters, Atletico made it two with virtually the last kick of the game after hitting City on the break.