Stoke City 3 Hull City 1: Xherdan Shaqiri finishes off Marco Silva's men with world-class strike

Jon Culley
Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates scoring Stoke's third with a blistering, swerving strike - Getty Images Europe

For all that the Marco Silva effect has galvanised Hull on their own turf, their losing habit away from home remains stubbornly hard to break and a 14th defeat on the road this season leaves them still dangerously close to the bottom three.

The Tigers, who have taken only one point away from home in seven months, made a good fist of trying to change the pattern and played some good football at the times, subjecting the Stoke defence to some difficult passages.

But ultimately a Stoke side packed with attacking flair had too much for them, producing three superb goals to end a run of four straight defeats.  Hull battled back from the first, by Marko Arnautovic, to force an equaliser early in the second half.

But then a classic header by substitute Peter Crouch and a brilliant curled strike by the effervescent Xherdan Shaqiri finished them off. Defensively, Stoke looked shaky at times, with the notable exception of Bruno Martins Indi, who rescued them more than once with timely tackles and brave blocks.

Stoke, with England goalkeeper Jack Butland on the bench after a year out with an ankle injury, were out of the blocks with such they could have been three goals to the good inside the opening 13 minutes.

They went ahead after five as Arnautovic cut inside Michael Dawson on the left, skirted past two other defenders and unleashed a right-foot shot into the top corner that goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic could do nothing to keep out.

 

Marko Arnautovic turns the ball past Hull's keeper to put the home side 1-0 up Credit: Barrington Coombs/PA

Arnautovic quickly could have made it two as Shaqiri’s exquisite dink set him up for a shot he couldn’t quite keep below the bar.  Not long afterwards, Saido Berahino momentarily began to celebrate his first goal for the club after Ryan Shawcross had put him through only for the assistant referee’s flag to deny him.

It was a familiar position for Hull, yet their response was good enough to put Stoke on the back foot and Lee Grant did well to keep out a half-volley from Lazar Markovic on the end of Harry Maguire’s cross on 25 minutes.

Hull maintained their pressure and within moments of the Markovic opportunity Maguire tried to lift the ball into the roof of the net through a crowd of players following a corner but could not keep it down.

Goal: Stoke ( 80 min )

Markovic was wide with a diving header and it would have been hard on them had they conceded a second at this stage, yet they almost did so on 32 minutes when another clever touch from Shaqiri created the chance for Glen Johnson to deliver a low cross that Arnautovic probably should have converted.

The half ended with Stoke fans calling for the dismissal of Hull striker Oumar Niasse after a late and unnecessary challenge on Grant with the ball dead.  Niasse was booked  for the foul and moments later put a hand up to the face of Geoff Cameron, although the Stoke player had acted provocatively by walking across to eyeball the Senagal forward.

It had been an entertainingly open game of enterprising football from both sides and the second half began in a similar vein, except this time it was Hull grabbing the early goal.

After Erik Pieters had conceded a corner, a short routine led to Sam Clucas teeing himself up for a cross.  Markovic took a swing and was blocked but the loose ball ran to Maguire, whose shot was not the cleanest, catching Shawcross, but ended up in the Stoke net.

Harry Maguire capitalises on the chaos to equalise for Hull Credit:  Reuters / Anthony Devlin

Stoke’s response was a double substitution by Mark Hughes, who sent on Jonathan Walters and Crouch in place of Charlie Adam and Berahino, which brought a dividend after just six minutes.

Arnautovic delivered a deep pass from the centre circle to the inside left channel where Walters, who had brought a fine save from Jakupovic with a header moments after entering the field, brought it under control nicely. Looking up, he saw 36-year-old Crouch striding forward in support and flighted the perfect cross for his teammate, who outjumped his marker and planted a firm header into the bottom corner for his eighth goal of the season.

Crouch came off the bench to score with a back-post header Credit: PPAUK/REX/Shutterstock

Hull’s spirits were beginning to sag a little now and there was no way back for them after Shaqiri, moving in from the right to collect a pass from Arnautovic, set himself to score the goal his performance deserved, unleashing a wonderful shot from 30 yards that found the top left-hand corner, bringing the Swiss his first goal since scoring twice at Hull in October. 

 

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