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Berahino On Target In Cup Triumph

Erik Pieters & Saido Berahino

SAIDO BERAHINO broke his Stoke City duck on Tuesday evening by scoring his first goal in two-and-a-half years to help the Potters see off Huddersfield Town in the Carabao Cup.

The 25-year-old had gone over 900 days without netting a goal in competitive action - a run stretching all the way back to West Bromwich Albion’s 3-2 triumph over Crystal Palace in February 2016.

However, he capped off a fine showing against the Terriers with an instinctive finish from eight-yards, after James McClean’s thumping second half strike cannoned into his path off the crossbar.

The goal was the forward’s just rewards having once more impressed in a previously unfamiliar number 10 role handed to him by Gary Rowett in each of the side’s last two outings.

Juninho Bacuna tried his utmost to upstage Berahino by comically scoring one of the most bizarre own goals you are likely to see this season right at the death.

Yet, despite Bacuna’s best efforts, it will be the Burundi international’s long-overdue exploits in front of goal that will live longest in the memory of Stoke City supporters.

The triumph was no more than the hosts deserved having been by far the more dominant side on display throughout the 90 minutes.

In fact, Berahino set the tone for another impressive home showing in just the fourth minute when he opportunistically pounced on a Huddersfield mistake and curled a 30-yard strike just over the crossbar.

His former West Bromwich Albion teammate James McClean then went even closer, forcing Lossl into a fine save at his near post with a thumping effort after bursting down the left flank, beyond two opposition defenders.

Adam Federici, making his first competitive start for the Club, was a relative bystander, but showed good hands to deny Laurent Depoitre from distance on two occasions.

Rowett’s men were clearly buoyed by their first victory of the campaign against Hull City at the weekend, and took a step towards a second successive triumph just a few minutes after the half-time interval.

Some slick football down the right flank, involving the outstanding Peter Etebo and composed Darren Fletcher culminated in McClean controlling, turning and lashing a strike off the woodwork, before Berahino rediscovered his instinct in front of goal by looping his header over a defender and into the back of the net.

One could have been two when Cuco Martina delivered a delicious delivery across the penalty box, just inches away from the outstretched Mame Diouf and McClean - both of whom steamed in at the back post.

The visitors struggled to forge any avenue beyond a determined Potters backline, and even when they thought they had managed to find an avenue through, Ashley Williams and Bruno Martins Indi, on two occasions, made sensational last-ditch clearances to frustrate the Premier League side.

They thrust Lossl up on several occasions during the seven minutes of injury time, in one final bid to grab an equaliser and take the tie to penalties.

Whilst, the tall ‘keeper headed one effort just over from a corner, he was left with egg on his face right at the death when Bacuna miscued a clearance and looped the ball over his head and into the back of the net.

A comical ending to a very impressive night’s work for the Potters. Now, for the Baggies, at the Hawthorns, this weekend!

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