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UEFA Europa League

  • 25 August 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Borski
  • • Attendance: 24118
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Stoke City win Aggregate 5 - 1

Stoke 4-1 FC Thun (Agg 5-1): Upson scores first goal for Potters as Tony Pulis’ side ease through to next round

Stoke 4-1 FC Thun (Agg 5-1): Upson scores first goal for Potters as Tony Pulis’ side ease through to next round

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An impressive performance from the home side sees them cruise past a Swiss team that provided little in terms of imagination or attacking prowess

Stoke City registered an impressive 4-1 (Agg 5-1) Europa League play-off second leg victory against a sub-par FC Thun in a result that sees them reach the group stages of the competition.

The game’s opening exchanges saw a motivated Thun side retain possession from the off but a lack of pace as well as cutting edge quickly began to show as the few attempts they managed to produce failed to truly test Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen.

The Potters soon looked to capitalise on the Swiss side’s need for a goal, utilising the counter attack to full effect, such attacking finding focus in the speed of Jermaine Pennant and his crosses produced most of Stoke’s first clear-cut opportunities. However, despite the inch-perfect deliveries, the home team still struggled to register the opener.

But, finally, Pennant’s crosses found the end product they were crying out for as his corner was firmly headed into the roof of the net by the first leg’s man-of-the-match Matthew Upson – scoring his first goal for his new team – and the Britannia Stadium erupted as the ball nestled in the goal mouth.

Any notion of the home side resting on their extended lead was soon dispelled as they continued to produce all of the game’s attacking pressure; whilst their opponents continued to look completely incapable of even putting together a few simple passes outside of their own half. The aforementioned pressure again paid off as Kenwyne Jones found the back of the net with his head after yet another quality delivery from deep from Pennant.

Minutes later another corner found a scrambled clearance from the Thun defence that only reached the edge of the area and the feet of Glenn Whelan, who proceeds to power the ball back towards the goal and it reaches the back of the net, sneaking underneath the crossbar.

The half-time whistle couldn’t have come soon enough for Thun as the second half called for them to score a mere four goals in order to qualify, a task that nothing they produced in the preceding game and a half made them look capable of completing.

Thun’s start to the second half only proved such a theory as their passing game was again reduced to their defenders. Tony Pulis rang the changes as Pennant, Marc Wilson and Jonathan Walters all departed early in the second half to be replaced by Tom Soares, Danny Collins and Ryan Shotton respectively, in a move that rapidly stalled the flow of the game.

Much of Stoke’s early profligacy returned in the second period as Jones and Dean Whitehead both fluff their lines but Jones doesn’t finish there as a smart one-two with Soares sees a clipped cross from the midfielder smashed into the goal by the Trinidadian and the strike was met with the inevitable choruses of ‘Delilah’ as Stoke firmly secured their group place.

Thun notched an unlikely consolation in the closing minutes through the left foot of Andreas Wittwer that seemed scarcely deserved but the final whistle was met with a justified result and the celebratory cries of jubilant Potters fans who were thrilled to see their European adventure continue.

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