Potters face uphill battle
Published 17/02/2012 | 05:00
Mehmet Topal's 30-yard screamer gave Valencia the advantage against Stoke in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash at the Britannia Stadium last night.
After starting slowly, the Spaniards dominated, but they opened the scoring out of nothing in the 36th minute, with Topal drilling an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Stoke had only a couple of real glimpses at goal, Jon Walters firing wide in the first minute and Peter Crouch sending an acrobatic volley just over just after Topal's opener.
But Valencia's class was evident and they dealt comfortably with the Potters' efforts to equalise in the second-half. Close to the finish they almost struck for another away goal after Sofiane Feghouli's shot sparked a goalmouth scramble that Stoke just about cleared.