Stoke City Under-21s 0
Manchester City Under-21s 2 (Rusnak 97, Tasende 112)
Stoke City’s hopes of progressing to the last 16 of the inaugural Under-21 Cup were extinguished by Manchester City on Thursday evening.
At a chilly Weaver Stadium, it took until extra-time before the visitors finally found a way past an impressive Daniel Bachmann in the Stoke goal with two fine strikes.
The Potters battled hard but found it difficult to break down a resolute Manchester City defence coached by former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira.
The visitors made the brighter start and could have made the breakthrough after just 12 minutes. The ball was worked out to the lively Albert Rusnak on the right wing and he turned Elliot Wheeler inside-out before his delivery across the face of goal was scrambled away to safety in the nick of time.
The Potters were playing some good football of their own but were denied from breaking into the box on numerous occasions by the assistant referee’s flag for offside.
Manchester City were the team who looked the more likely to break the deadlock and they went close on 20 minutes when Emyr Huws robbed possession deep inside the Stoke half, but his shot from 25 yards was expertly pushed behind for a corner by Bachmann.
The Citizens looked threatening down the right and after good approach play between Rusnak and Leigh released the latter, his cross into the box was theatrically fired over by Jordy Mayifuila just before the interval.
Vieira’s side continued where they left off after the break but were once again thwarted by the reflexes of Bachmann who got a strong left hand to Leigh’s fierce drive from close range.
The Potters grew into the second period and thought they had taken the lead on the hour mark but Alex Grant’s strike was ruled out after his centre-half partner Mason Watkins was adjudged to have impeded the goalkeeper in the build up from Lucas Dawson’s deep free-kick.
Dawson’s dead ball deliveries were causing problems for the opposition defence and the Potters once again went narrowly close when Grant’s header was cleared off the line.
Stoke continued on the front foot and when Karim Rossi found Derice Richards in space just outside the box the striker fired just over Ian Lawlor’s bar.
As the game drew closer to the 90th minute it was the visitors who finished the stronger but they couldn’t find a way past Bachmann who impressively pushed away Seko Fofana’s shot, before scrabbling across his line to get a hand to Jose Tasende’s deceiving cross which was heading for the far corner.
Manchester City were quickest out of the blocks in extra-time and after Bachmann had denied Fofana from point-blank range, they took the lead on 97 minutes.
A deep cross from the left was only half cleared to Rusnak who controlled the ball before skipping past an onrushing challenge and firing in to the far corner.
The hosts almost levelled four minutes after the interval when a determined Jake Cook strode down the right and delivered a delightful ball for Richards whose delicate flick forced Lawlor into a fantastic reaction save from close range.
Moments later Stoke’s hopes of equalising were laid to rest when a floated cross to the far post was controlled by Tasende, who after initially seeing his shot cannon off the post, coolly slotted home the rebound to send the visitors through to the next round.
Stoke City: Bachmann, Cook, Wheeler, Dawson, Grant (Sanders 114), Watkins, Thomas (Heneghan 106), Lecygne (Taylor 46), Richards, Ward, Rossi. Subs not used: Eve, Westley.
Manchester City: Lawlor, Drury, Leigh, Facey, Denayer (Plummer 114), Huws, Rusnak, Fofana, Mayifuila, Glendon (Bryan 87), Pozo (Tasende 61). Subs not used: O’Brien, Henshall.