Pelle brace send Saints through in thriller
29th October 2014 7.45pm
Attendance: 16, 340
Graziano Pelle scored twice for Southampton as they knocked Stoke City out of the League Cup at the Britannia Stadium in a thriller.
Pelle and Shane Long gave Southampton a 2-0 half time lead before the Potters dragged there selves back into the fixture through Steven N`Zonzi and Mame Biram Diouf.
Stoke`s second half substitute Peter Crouch saw red after receiving two yellow cards just after the Potters equalised and Pelle punished his fellow forward by firing home from close range to give the Saints a 3-2 victory.
Ronald Koeman`s Southampton side started the brightest and took the lead through Italian striker Graziano Pelle after he was given way too much space in the middle of the park, as he was allowed to turn and set himself before firing a superb curling shot from 30+ into the top corner of Asmir Begovic`s net with a little help from the inside of the post-a superb strike from the striker who has managed to break into the Italian team.
The goal did not wake the Potters up as they continued to look sloppy and dwell on the ball; time and time again the Potters were caught in possession by the hungry Saints midfield with Steven Davis and Victor Wanyama busy throughout.
Saints doubled their lead deservedly when Davis found space on the right hand side after some neat build up play and the former Rangers midfielder had time to calmly pull the ball back to Shane Long to fire through Begovic`s legs from inside the penalty area.
It could have been worse for the Potters before the break when Pelle found space in the box once again and controlled well on his chest but fired over on this occasion.
The Potters did have the ball in the net before half time but Walters strike was correctly ruled out for offside.
Stoke came out in the second half with more energy and purpose and were rewarded early on when Steven N`Zonzi drove from midfield and smashed home from 25 yards into the bottom corner.
The goal brought more vigour from Stoke and the 16,000 fans in the Britannia Stadium and the Midlands outfit pushed for an equaliser, although Asmir Begovic had to make two stunning saves from explosive Southampton counter attacks.
Bojan managed to manufacture a number of chances for himself but failed to capitalise. The Spaniard had one final opportunity just before he was substituted when he closed down a Saints defender and drove into the box, but with the player lacking confidence, he tried to find a pass in the box when it was more suited for him to strike at goal himself.
Bojan and Geoff Cameron made way for Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch as Hughes` went 4-4-2 and Stoke went more direct.
The Potters created chance after chance but could not find a breakthrough until they had a succession of 5 corners one after another and the ball finally fell to Mame Biram Diouf to head home at the far post to bring the game all square.
Stoke continued at the same intensity they played at before getting the equaliser to try and win the game but it was their own downfall.
Peter Crouch was booked twice in a minute for overzealous challenges and was given his marching orders.
From the resulting free kick of the final foul, the ball ricocheted in the box and Pelle swept Southampton into the Quarter final and the impressive Southampton followed into raptures.
Stoke threw everything at the Saints in the final 10 minutes but could not grab a dramatic leveler to take the tie into extra time.