City claim their third pre-season victory in four in France...
MAME DIOUF’S second goal in as many matches was enough to earn the Potters a narrow 1-0 victory in their fourth pre-season fixture on Saturday afternoon.
The Senegalese international followed up his strike against AS Monaco last weekend with an emphatic close range finish to help his side edge the Ligue 1 newcomers at the Stade de la Licorne.
His strike right on the stroke of half-time proved to be the only goal of an entertaining affair against the French side.
The margin of victory may have been greater had the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan been a little more accurate with their finishing, although in truth, the hosts did rue several missed opportunities of their own.
Whilst they enjoyed a fair share of ball possession they lacked cutting edge with their final deliveries, something that often left the home supporters frustrated.
At the other end the likes of Shaqiri, Bojan and Ramadan all possessed greater attention to detail, with their intricacy on the ball key to several City openings.
It took until the 46th minute however, for the deadlock to be broken however, with Diouf capitalising on a free ball inside the penalty area by rifling his strike past the helpless Regis Gurtner.
Earlier in the afternoon Jack Butland had to be aware to block a couple of half opportunities for the hosts, whilst at the opposite end Shaqiri hooked the ball home only to be ruled offside.
The second period saw the Potters go close to doubling their advantage with Bojan’s attempted chip from 18-yards being caught by the ‘keeper, before the impressive Shaqiri whipped wide of the far post.
Darren Fletcher continued to impress at the heart of midfield with his composure on the ball, and it was he who very nearly freed Diouf in behind with a killer pass that left the Amiens backline in all of a flutter.
The home side had moments of their own though, but as proved to be their Achilles heel prior to the interval, they continued to rush passes into the box when they would undoubtedly have been better served biding their time.
Both teams made wholesale changes as the second period wore on, with the likes of Peter Crouch, Philipp Wollscheid, Thibaud Verlinden and Saido Berahino all being thrust into the action for the Potters.
Stoke City: Butland; Johnson (Edwards 46), Shawcross (c) (Muniesa 72), Cameron (Wollscheid 72), Pieters; Fletcher (Tymon 77), Allen (Imbula 77); Shaqiri (Verlinden 77), Bojan (Berahino 62), Ramadan (Adam 77); Diouf (Crouch 62). Subs not used: Haugaard.