Stoke seal first League Cup semi-final appearance since 1972

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Stoke eased into the Capital One Cup semi-finals as goals from Ibrahim Afellay and substitute Phil Bardsley secured a comfortable 2-0 home 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 what will be Stoke's first League Cup semi-final appearance since 1971-72, the year they raised the trophy.

Wednesday, the 1990-91 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 Barclays Premier League sides Newcastle and Arsenal.

But the Sky Bet 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 with him being forced off, Joselu coming on as the replacement.

Moments later Jonathan Walters had a shot gathered by Joe Wildsmith, before Wednesday responded with a break that ended with Gary Hooper just failing to make contact in front of goal with Kieran Lee's cross.

As Stoke then started to get a grip on the game, Marco van Ginkel drilled a shot from outside the box that Wildsmith turned around the post.

And shortly afterwards the home side had the lead, Joselu collecting the ball from Glen Johnson's throw-in and lofting a cross to Afellay, who volleyed sweetly into the corner.

Wednesday substitute Daniel Pudil - who had come on for the injured Tom Lees - then miscued an attempted backpass and the lively Joselu tried to take advantage, but Wildsmith was off his line quickly to avert the danger.

Stoke continued to be relatively untroubled by their visitors as the second half got under way and they almost extended their lead around the hour mark when Joselu's shot was well saved by the leg of Wildsmith and Afellay's follow-up was blocked by Modou Sougou.

Wednesday had a brief sight of goal as Pudil sent a volley arcing wide, but Stoke then wrapped things up as Van Ginkel touched off a free-kick to Bardsley, who fired a fierce shot in off the post.



Jack Butland: 7 (out of 10)

Glen Johnson: 7

Marc Wilson: 6

Philipp Wollscheid: 6

Erik Pieters: 6

Geoff Cameron: 6

Marco van Ginkel: 7

Jonathan Walters: 6

Ibrahim Afellay: 7

Marko Arnautovic: 6

Peter Crouch: 4


Joselu (for Crouch, 13): 7

Phil Bardsley (for Johnson, HT): 7

Glenn Whelan (for Arnautovic, 88): 5

Sheffield Wednesday

Joe Wildsmith: 7

Jack Hunt: 5

Tom Lees: 5

Glenn Loovens: 6

Rhoys Wiggins: 6

Modou Sougou: 6

Sam Hutchinson: 5

Kieran Lee: 6

Ross Wallace: 5

Gary Hooper: 6

Lucas Joao: 5


Daniel Pudil (for Lees, 38): 5

Lewis McGugan (for Hunt, HT): 5

Atdhe Nuhiu (for Loovens, 77): 5


Joselu. Came on early for the injured Peter Crouch and put in a lively display that saw him tee up Ibrahim Afellay's goal and nearly get on the scoresheet himself.


Afellay's goal. Stoke fans have not seen too much from the ex-Barcelona midfielder so far this term, but this effort to break his Potters duck was certainly a touch of class.


Stoke manager Mark Hughes will have been delighted a team featuring five changes handled this assignment without too much difficulty, and his impressive tenure at the club continues to go from strength to strength.

Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal might wonder why Wednesday failed to really get going here having been so effective against other top-flight opponents in previous rounds - although it is worth noting he had made seven alterations to his first XI on this occasion.


The only real negative for Stoke, it was a particularly sad sight to see Crouch limping off in only the 13th minute. Making just a sixth appearance and third start of the season, the 34-year-old striker looked eager to make an impression in the very opening stages - and absolutely gutted when he departed the field soon after.


Stoke v Man City (Premier League, Saturday, December 5)

Sheffield Wednesday v Derby (Championship, Sunday, December 6)

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