Thursday 22 February 2018

Afellay steps up to end Wednesday's giant-killing run

Afellay put the Potters ahead in the 30th minute.
Afellay put the Potters ahead in the 30th minute.

Jon Culley

Stoke eased into the League Cup semi-finals as goals from Ibrahim Afellay and substitute Phil Bardsley secured a comfortable victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

Afellay put the Potters ahead in the 30th minute, the summer signing registering his first goal for the club with a delightfully-executed volley.

Bardsley then smashed home a low effort from outside the box in the 75th minute - also opening his Potters goalscoring account - to seal Stoke's first League Cup semi-final appearance since 1971-72, the year they raised the trophy.

Wednesday, the 1991 winners, went into this quarter-final having demonstrated their capacity to spring a shock in the previous two rounds with victories over Stoke's fellow Premier League sides Newcastle and Arsenal.

But the Championship outfit rarely looked like threatening an upset at the Britannia Stadium, with the hosts, who had reached the last eight by beating holders Chelsea on penalties, in control more or less throughout.

Stoke were disrupted early on as a rare start for Peter Crouch, who had been clutching at his right hamstring for several minutes, came to a premature conclusion - he was forced off, with Joselu coming on as the replacement - but that was a rare moment of difficulty on an otherwise comfortable evening.

Irish Independent

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