Joselu's second brace in as many matches isn't enough for the Potters...
JOSELU maintained his rich vein of form in front of goal on Tuesday evening but was helpless from preventing the Potters slipping to defeat in their penultimate pre-season friendly in Germany.
The Spanish striker offered Mark Hughes some serious food for thought ahead of the big kick-off in just 11 days time after notching for the fourth and fifth time in just three outings this summer.
Joselu’s contribution was one of the highlights of what was a relatively frustrating evening for the Potters, who were put to the sword by Bundesliga II promotion hopefuls FC St. Pauli.
The German side, who kicked their new campaign off with a 1-0 away victory at fellow title contenders Bochum at the weekend, were always likely to be a serious test for the visitors - especially with the Potters having made 11 changes to the starting line-up.
Hughes’ decision to leave 10 of the 11 starters at Bolton Wanderers at the weekend back at home meant opportunities to impress for the likes of Joselu, Giannelli Imbula and Spanish maestro Bojan.
Earlier on in the day the two clubs formally announced an official strategic partnership at a press conference at the home team’s stadium, with Business Director Andreas Rittig jokingly describing the Potters as the more juvenile half of the link-up.
And for the first 15 minutes it looked like the German’s were the more senior side on display too, as they flexed their muscle and took the game by the scruff of the net in an attempt to claim the scalp of their more illustrious opposition.
Sami Allagui’s superbly taken goal early on set the tone for what proved to be an entertaining, and worthwhile, work out in front of over 12,000 spectators, including a handful of hardened Stories who made the trip, at short notice, over from the Potteries.
Their lead was doubled midway through the first 45 when Maurice Litka latched on to a long-punt forward by goalkeeper Robin Himmelmann and showed Lee Grant the eyes, before clipping the ball to his left.
City showed signs of pulling themselves back into the match with several half opportunities at goal, and they were duly rewarded for their efforts soon after when Joselu showed tremendous reactions to guide the ball into an empty net after the post initially denied the former Real Madrid frontman.
The second half produced three further goals, the first coming from substitute Young-Rok Choi who capitalised on a defensive mix-up between Grant and the unfortunate Marc Muniesa, before moving forward on goal and clipping the ball into the far corner of the net.
Hughes’ men responded however, and were soon back within a single goal of the home side thanks to Joselu, who showed tremendous technique by stroking a thumping half-volley beyond the reach of the goalkeeper from 20-yards out.
The visitors pressed for an equaliser with substitute Ryan Sweeney going close with a header, but it was the home side who netted the final goal of the evening in hugely controversial circumstances.
Referee Tobias Steeler pointed to the spot after adjudging Philipp Wollscheid to have manhandled an opposing player, although television replays clearly showed the slight infringement taking place outside of the 18-yard box.
Still, the penalty was awarded and Enver Sahin stepped up and cooly dispatched it to Grant’s right to put the icing on the cake for the hugely hospitable hosts.