Defeat for Gary Rowett's men in opening KiK-xxl Cup encounter against German side...
SV MEPPEN 1 (Kleinsorge 15)
STOKE CITY 0
A YOUTHFUL Stoke City XI slipped to a narrow defeat in the side’s opening fixture of the KiK-xxl Cup on Saturday afternoon.
Marius Kleinsorge’s expertly-taken effort 15 minutes into the encounter proved sufficient for the hosts to claim victory in the first of three matches at the Hansch Arena.
Whilst Rowett’s primary concerns won’t have surrounded the outcome of the fixture, the City boss will feel aggrieved that his players weren’t able to capitalise on an incredibly bright start to the 45-minute fixture.
Spanish ace Bojan went close with a long range strike in the fourth minute which goalkeeper Erik Domaschke did well to parry away, before Tyrese Campbell curled wide from 12-yard with the goal at his mercy.
The Potters’ early dominance saw Peter Crouch go close with a glancing header, whilst at the other end there was a brief moment of concern when Luka Tankulic rose unchallenged but failed to guide his effort on target.
Moments later however, the Potters were behind.
A long punt forward wasn’t dealt with by Ryan Sweeney, thus allowing Kleinsorge an opportunity which he grasped with both hands, driving a strike beyond the reach of the helpless Haugaard.
One could have been two when Kleinsorge manoeuvred space for himself inside the penalty area, although thankfully for the Potters Haugaard was equal to the midfielder’s stinging attempt.
Rowett was forced into a change when Giannelli Imbula limped off midway through the fixture, with American international Geoff Cameron introduced as his replacement.
Stoke huffed and puffed in the intense heat to fashion what would have been a deserved equaliser, but neither Bojan or Crouch were able to ripple the net when opportunities presented themselves late on.
The home side should have added gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time but Martin Wagner saw his effort cannon the post from close range.
STOKE CITY: Haugaard; Edwards, Sweeney, Souttar, Tymon; Sorensen; Campbell, Bojan, Imbula (Cameron 20), Berahino; Crouch.