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FA Cup

  • January 8, 2011
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 18629

Stoke City 1-1 Cardiff: Tuncay Stunner Denies Bluebirds A Premier League Scalp

Stoke City 1-1 Cardiff: Tuncay Stunner Denies Bluebirds A Premier League Scalp

Defensive heroics ensures replay after early Chopra strike

Cardiff City held on defiantly despite long periods of second half pressure from Stoke City to ensure a replay in the third round of the FA Cup.

An early strike from Michael Chopra gave the Championship side the lead as he was allowed to stroke home untroubled before Tuncay restored parity prior to the break with a typically exquisite finish.

Cardiff 'keeper David Marshall made a string of second half saves to ensure that the two teams will meet again under the floodlights in a replay.

The Premier League side made seven changes for the game, with rookie full-back Ryan Shotton - who recently made an ill-advised comment on Twitter about manager Tony Pulis - given a rare start, but there was no place for former Chelsea forward Eidur Gudjohnsen in the squad, adding more credence to reports that the Icelander is on his way out in the January transfer window.

Yet the Potters line-up hosted many top flight regulars, including club captain Ryan Shawcross and the talented Tuncay, amongst others.

The big news for the traveling side was the absence through injury of star striker Craig Bellamy, who has lit up the Championship since sealing a season-long loan move from Manchester City, and Jay Bothroyd, whose goalscoring prowess earned a surprise England cap in November.

Turkish striker Tuncay had an early sight from distance tipped round the post by Cardiff shot-stopper David Marshall, but Jermaine Pennant failed to make the most of the corner as Andy Keogh cleared at the near post.

And the Potters were punished moments later as the Welsh side pushed forward and after Chopra's header from a Stephen McPhail cross flew beyond Thomas Sorensen, the former Newcastle man followed up as it rebounded off the post and tapped in after being left unmarked by Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth.

The Bluebirds continued to press forward after taking the advantage, with Peter Whittingham causing many problems while the pace of Keogh stretched Stoke's backline as Cardiff moved the ball well on the deck, but Kevin McNaughton had to be called into action with a terrific diving header from an in-swinging cross.

Premier League Stoke took an age to fashion another opportunity to add to Tuncay's early effort, and when it came it was wasted as Jonathan Walters dreadfully headed over from a Pennant ball that picked out the Irishman in plenty of space.

Scottish winger Chris Burke should have done better than to fizz his strike wide of Sorensen's goal after a surging run down the right flank that typified the promotion-chasing team's confidence in the opening half-hour.

But Stoke midfielder Marc Wilson, a summer signing from Portsmouth, nearly brought the sides level with a thumping free-kick that blasted into the bar before being swiped away from danger by Gavin Rae.

Despite the game being played at a fine tempo, neither side created much from open play with the home team thwarted on several occasions by the defensive endeavors of Lee Naylor and captain Mark Hudson, and if a goal was to come, it would have to be from a special finish.

And that moment of class came from Tuncay, who had been Stoke's standout performer, after he latched on to a Ricardo Fuller knock-down and swiveled before picking out his target and firing home from the edge of the area.

It was the final act of a first half that was a quintessential cup game, with the fearless outsiders causing many a headache and defending staunchly.

From the restart there was a moment of controversy as Stoke forward Fuller believed he had been pulled down in the box, but referee Mark Halsey refused to award a penalty.

And the Jamaican was involved in the action minutes later after a fantastic Pennant run down the right afforded the former Liverpool man the opportunity to fire in a cross across the face of goal, with the burly Fuller adeptly dummying and leaving the ball for Tuncay to smash towards goal, only for the strike to be turned around for a corner.

It was a thumping restart from the home side, who notched up a whopping four corners in the first seven minutes as they pelted the ball forward – a clear indication of manager Pulis' intention to avoid adding another fixture to his side's season.

Veteran full-back Danny Higginbotham pushed forward in an attempt to make the breakthrough and delivered a cross for Fuller to get his head onto, but the striker's effort flew a yard wide of Marshall's stick.

That chance came just moments before Pennant, who had came to the fore in the second period, was hauled off for left-winger Matthew Etherington.

Cardiff's solitary chance of the second half came after almost 30 minutes of play, but Chopra was unable to convert as Sorensen rushed out before the striker could pull the trigger.

Not long afterwards and Pulis threw on club record signing Kenwyne Jones for Jonathan Walters, but it was Chopra who showed his credentials with a surging run up-field, only for the 27-year-old to be let down by a lack of support.

But Stoke's big man soon proved why he's such a handful after a clever swivel at the edge of the box allowed him to bomb into the area before firing a venomous strike at goal, only for Marshall to pull off a terrific save.

Cardiff midfielder Gavin Rae then pulled off a heroic block to deny Fuller a winner with just five minutes remaining, with the Jamaican's deflected effort bouncing off the top of the bar.

That block summed up the Championship side's staunch defending in a second half in which they were kept pegged back for large periods, with Hudson and Naylor both defiant under pressure.

Dave Jones' team were full value for their draw, but Stoke boss Pulis will wonder how his side failed to turn their dominance into a win and will rue a trip back to his homeland.

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