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Stoke 1 – 1 Dynamo Kiev (15/09/11)

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An injury time equaliser from Ognjen Vukojevic denied Stoke a perfect start to their European adventure.

Pulis’ side took the lead at the Valeriy Lobanovskyi Stadium after 55 minutes. Recent signing Cameron Jerome went some way to dispelling his recent critics; his shot flew into the top corner after a powerful run from Ryan Shotton found the forward unmarked in the box. Jerome showed his quality, and Stoke went ahead with their first shot on target.

In a game with more bookings than chances, the Potters will feel aggrieved at not departing Kiev with maximum points. But football can be a cruel game; and Stoke were justly punished for a defensive lapse. In injury time, Kiev’s Vukojevic nicked in at the back post and delivered the crucial blow. 1-1. What the defence were doing, only they know.

The hosts were the better side in the first half, as Andriy Yarmolenko shot wide after a blunder from Stoke keeper Thomas Sorenson gifted him an opportunity on goal.

Pulis played 5 at the back, with all 3 centre-halves – Robert Huth, Matthew Upson and Ryan Shawcross – earning a caution from the referee.

It was a resolute display from Stoke, who were happy to allow the hosts the majority of possession, while keeping Kiev’s various threats at bay.

Dynamo threatened in the second period, after being reduced to long-range efforts before the break. Impressive substitute Olexandr Aliyev rattled the bar with a well-struck shot. Andriy Shevchenko, now at Kiev after a miserable tenure in the Premier League, was continually wasteful in the game. The Ukrainian forward had a glorious chance late in the second half after being played through. He hesitated, tried to find a team-mate, and the ball trickled away. I can’t help but think a more youthful Shevchenko would have converted.

Vukojevic ensured his side took a point from the game when he prodded in at the death. Desolation for the Potters.

But not to worry, it’s only the Europa League. (Oh wait, we’re supposed to think it’s a big deal, aren’t we?)

Dynamo had a chance to snatch all three points in the final kick of the match. Free-kick to Dynamo. Up-stepped Aliyev. Into the wall. Stoke departed Kiev with a point, ruing the chance they had to leave with all three.





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