Live Commentary: Stoke City 0-1 Manchester City - as it happened

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis and Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini shake hands prior to kick off on January 26, 2012
© PA Photos
Find out how Manchester City overcame Stoke City in the FA Cup courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates.

Manchester City travelled to Stoke City's Britannia Stadium this afternoon for a repeat of the 2011 FA Cup final.

Just as they did on that occasion, the visitors ran out 1-0 victors thanks to a late goal from vice-captain Pablo Zabaleta.

You can find out how the round four tie unfolded with our minute-by-minute commentary below.


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11.47amMorning all. When the draw for round four of the FA Cup was made, it would be fair to say that this tie caught the eye of many people. After all, these two battled it out in the final back in 2011. Let's hope they can produce a decent spectacle today.

11.49amAs mentioned in the introduction, a goal from Yaya Toure was enough for Man City to claim the trophy for the first time since 1969. The Ivorian actually scored against Manchester United in the semi-finals as well and it was those contributions that have cemented him as a City hero.

11.51amFor City fans wanting to relive that historic day, here's a highlights video. Stoke supporters may want to avert their eyes!


11.54amIt's not all gone in City's favour where the FA Cup is concerned though. During the previous season to their success, they were dumped out of the competition by Stoke. The first match ended in a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium, while the return at the Britannia also finished with the same scoreline. However, the Potters ran out 3-1 winners in extra time.

11.56amRight, enough of those facts, figures and statistics for a few minutes - the team news from the Britannia has just been released...

11.58amTEAMS:

STOKE X1: Sorensen; Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson; Kightly, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington; Walters, Jones

MAN CITY X1: Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Garcia, Barry, Silva; Dzeko, Tevez


12pmArguably the biggest news to come from those lineups is the fact that Joe Hart has not been included for Man City. The England goalkeeper has been rested and will start on the bench, with Carlos Pantilimon taking up the role between the posts. Carlos Tevez will also partner Edin Dzeko in attack.

12.03pmFrom a Stoke point of view, their regular number one goalkeeper Asmir Begovic also misses out. Is that because he has been linked with a move to today's opponent perhaps? Either way, Thomas Sorensen will keep goal for the Potters. Elsewhere, Kenwyne Jones has been included in the team despite reports of a transfer to Swansea City.

12.07pmThose of you who like a flutter, it looks as though a 1-1 draw is a fairly safe bet today. The last five matches at the Britannia have ended with that scoreline. There surely can not be any other two clubs that can say that! It's probably a sequence of results that both managers would like to see end today in all honesty. Neither is going to want a replay.

12.12pmOne of the most memorable moments from those matches has to be Peter Crouch's goal from last season. Remember it? Surely you do. For those that don't, here is a refresher:


12.15pmTalking of Crouch, he no longer appears to be the flavour of the month for Stoke boss Tony Pulis. He had been first-choice following his arrival from Tottenham Hotspur last season. However, over the last few weeks, Pulis appears to favour the likes of Walters, Jones and Cameron Jerome to lead the Stoke line. It's a strange one, because Crouch is a proven goalscorer in the English game.

12.17pmHe has been named on the bench for today's match though. Here is who are among the replacements for the both teams.

STOKE: Nash, Owen, Crouch, Adam, Whitehead, Upson, Jerome

MAN CITY: Hart, Sinclair, Aguero, Rodwell, Clichy, Rekik, Lopes


12.19pmRight, here is a good omen for the Stoke faithful courtesy of OPTA JOE on Twitter:

"9 - Stoke City are unbeaten in nine FA Cup games at the Britannia Stadium (W7 D2). Fortress."


12.23pmWhat's more, Man City have not won away at Stoke in their last six attempts. In fact, their last victory against today's hosts came back in January 1999. Amazingly, that encounter was a second division clash. Oh how times have changed - for both clubs!

12.27pmIt seems mad to think that Man City were a third tier club not so long ago doesn't it? Funnily enough, Stoke boss Tony Pulis was involved in one of the biggest matches in City's history. He was in charge of Gillingham when they lost on penalties to the Citizens during the 1999 second division playoffs. Had the Gills won that match, who knows where City would be now?

12.31pmStaying with Pulis, his Stoke team have uncharacteristically shipped 13 goals in their last four Premier League games. For a team that is usually watertight, it's rather surprising and Pulis has conceded that he is concerned by that.

"We've got really sloppy in the last few weeks," he said. "I think we have conceded six goals from set-pieces, first or second phase, and that's not like us. We have gone through the reasons and the lads will know and understand what they have to do and not do."


12.34pmDespite the fact that these two are both in the Premier League, it would be classed as an FA Cup upset if Stoke win today, wouldn't it? I know the Britannia is a hard place to go to, but with the squad at Mancini's disposal, you wouldn't expect them to be knocked out here.

12.37pmThe bookmakers also appear to agree. The majority are offering a Man City victory at a best price of 8/11, while Stoke are rated as a 4/1 to chance. The dreaded draw and replay can be had at 13/5.

12.40pmIf City are to make the most of their favourites tag, midfielder James Milner believes that the travelling faithful will play a big part in that happening.

"Our thinking is, if you want to win the FA Cup, you have to beat everyone anyway," he said. "The fact we're taking more than 4,000 fans is really important because the Stoke supporters make a lot of noise."


12.43pmRight, here come the players to a rather loud reception from the crowd. Fair play to those that have paid their money to watch this one because it looks pretty nippy out there! Not long until we are off and running at the Britannia.

1 minSo, Man City, kicking from right to left, get this round four encounter started...

2 minCHANCE! Wakey, wakey Stoke! The home side fell asleep at a corner, which was worked short to David Silva. The City midfielder took aim from the edge of the area, but fired well over the crossbar. The little Spaniard is capable of much better than that.

5 minIt's not been the greatest of starts by Stoke. Having been let off by Silva earlier, a quick break up the field ends with full-back Ryan Shotton over-hitting a cross that goes for a Man City throw. Pulis does not look a happy man at all.

7 minSAVE! Silva is beginning to pull the strings for City now. He just threaded a pass through to Tevez, who in turn struck the ball towards the near post. Thankfully for Stoke, Sorensen got across his line to palm the low effort away from danger.

10 minWhile City have looked pretty comfortable so far, one player that has looked a little suspect is their back-up goalkeeper Pantilimon. On three occasions he has been given the ball to his feet and each time he has sent the ball out of play. Stoke have got to try and test him soon.

14 minCHANCE! At last Stoke have an effort at goal. It's Robert Huth who rises highest inside the City area, but under pressure from James Milner, the German defender only succeeds in heading the ball over the crossbar. Still, it is a sign of intent from the home side that had been lacking.

19 minOFF THE POST! For some reason, Stoke seem to think it is okay to give Silva a lot of time and space inside their area. Having had one warning earlier, the City midfielder collected a quick free kick from Milner, before curling the ball against the post. The rebound was cleared but Stoke are riding their luck at the moment.

21 minThere's been no tempo about Stoke's play so far. Usually they get about their opposition and don't let them settle but City are having an easy time of things.

23 minCHANCE! City should now really be 1-0 up. Milner and Gareth Barry link to play in Tevez, but the Argentine goes for power over placement and only manages to lift the ball over the bar from 10 yards out. Had he showed a little more composure there, he'd surely have scored.

27 minDISALLOWED GOAL! Ryan Shawcross buries to ball into the City net from close range, but his celebrations are cut short as the linesman raises his flag for offside. Replays show that as Huth had the initial shot, the Stoke defender was indeed too far forward. Correct decision.

30 minUp the other end, both Shawcross and Huth prove their worth by managing to block a low shot from Tevez. If City don't take a lead into the break, you get the impression that Mancini will dish out a few stern words.

33 minSome potentially bad news for Man City. Captain Vincent Kompany leaps up following a challenge and immediately signals that he can no longer continue. It looks as though he has damaged his knee.

35 minBOOKING! First yellow card of the afternoon goes to Man City's Aleksandar Kolarov, who blatantly hauls down Jonathan Walters 20 yards from goal. The Serbian knew that he couldn't argue that one. The resultant free kick is wasted by Glenn Whelan.

37 minStrangely, Mancini and his assistant David Platt do not seem to be in a rush to replace Kompany. He has also already limped off down the tunnel, but no replacement has been selected yet. You'd think it's something that the management would want to address quickly.

39 minSUBSTITUTION: Some six minutes after Kompany exited the field, Gael Clichy has finally entered the action. It looks as though City have now gone to three at the back, with Kolarov now operating as left-wing back. It will be interesting to see if Stoke can take advantage of any uncertainty that the tactical change has caused.

41 minCHANCE! The switch certainly hasn't hampered City's ability to create chances. A cross from Kolarov is flicked wide of the target by Edin Dzeko, but Tevez can not turn the ball goalwards from a narrow angle. Another opportunity bites the dust.

45 minWe've got one add minute to play at the Britannia...

45+1 minHALF-TIME: Stoke 0-0 Man City

1.34pmWell, it's not been the best 45 minutes of football you will see this season, that's for sure. Tony Pulis should be the happier of the two managers because his side have been second best throughout, yet they are level.

1.36pmOn the other hand, Mancini could well have a few choice words for his players. The performance has been good, but they haven't stuck the ball in the net. If they continue that level of performance in the second half, they should win this. However, the danger is that Stoke could nick a goal against the run of play.

1.40pmThe injury to Kompany may also have a big impact after the restart. Not only is he City's captain and key defender, they have now gone to three at the back - a formation that drew a large amount of criticism when Mancini tried it earlier in the season.

1.44pmThe stats after 45 minutes tell you that Stoke have had two shots on target, although I'm struggling to recall either! Meanwhile, City have sent in seven shots, four of which have forced Sorensen into action. They've also had 57% of the possession.

1.47pmThe Mirror's Twitter account does not hold much hope of this encounter improving after the break:

"Paint drying or second half... paint drying or second half... paint drying or second half *tosses coin*"


1.49pmRight, the players are back out. Let's hope for a bit more entertainment over the next 45 minutes...

46 minReports suggest that the word coming out of the Man City dressing room is that Kopmany has suffered a calf strain. If it is indeed a strain, City should not be without their skipper for too long.

48 minStoke's Whelan is a lucky boy because he really shouldn't be on the pitch. The Irish midfielder jumped into a challenge with Javi Garcia and caught the Man City player with both of his feet. What surely saved him from seeing red was the fact that Howard Webb's view of the incident was slightly blocked. That's a horrible challenge.

51 minBit of an understatement here from Kevin Kilbane on BBC Radio Five Live:

"If Howard Webb sees Glenn Whelan's tackle then there's a possibility of a red card. He jumped in, landed on top of Javi Garcia with two-feet and was a little bit late."


54 minBOOKING! Stoke's Shotton is the player who gets his name taken down, despite the fact that he appeared to get the ball from a challenge with Tevez. It's not been the best start to the second half by referee Webb.

56 minIf truth be told, the start of this half has been slower than the first! Got to confess, I didn't think that was possible! Neither side has called either keeper into action yet and we've played 11 minutes.

60 minCHANCE! Despite the poor start to the half, City have been the more positive side and went close to taking the lead just a moment ago. Dzeko crossed from the right for Kolarov, but the full-back stabbed the ball wide of the target while under pressure from Shawcross.

63 minSUBSTITUTION: And that was Kolarov's last involvement in the tie. He has been replaced by Sergio Aguero, which is a rather attack-minded switch by Mancini. The City boss obviously wants to win this match today.

66 minSUBSTITUTION: It also looks as though Stoke want to claim the victory as well. Michael Kightly has just been hooked and on in his place is striker Cameron Jerome. That's positive from both managers.

69 minCHANCE! The first we've seen of Aguero so far as he plays in Tevez on the edge of the area. The striker managed to wriggle free and work himself enough space for a shot, but his effort was always rising and posed little danger to the Stoke goal.

73 minSUBSTITUTION: A double switch for the home team as Dean Whitehead and Peter Crouch come on in place of Wilkinson and Jones. Can Crouch produce another magic moment against City? This match certainly needs something like that to happen. Although a shot on target would do!

75 minCHANCE! Very, very close from Dzeko. A shot from the left side of the area did not look to be on, but he managed to bend the ball towards the target. Unfortunately for the Bosnian and City, his effort took a deflection and went just wide.

77 minCHANCE! Aguero finds the net for City, but it's only the side netting from a narrow angle. The visitors are beginning to move through the gears now though. A goal could well be coming.

78 minBOOKING! Milner has just took one for the team! Matthew Etherington was preparing to race down the right wing, only to have his route blocked by a trip from the City midfielder.

81 minCHANCE! It may not have been on target, but Stoke have had an effort at goal! Shotton sent over a cross from the left to the back post, where Crouch was lurking. He timed his jump slightly wrong though and only managed to head over the crossbar.

84 minGOAL! Stoke 0-1 Man City (Zabaleta)

86 minWhat a goal from Pablo Zabaltea. The right-back started the move by winning possession deep in his own half. Having given the ball to a teammate, he kept on running forwards. When Aguero finally turned the ball into the area, Zabaleta was waiting to fire low beyond Sorensen from close range. City deserve that, they've been the better side.

87 minSUBSTITUTION: It looks as though Mancini is looking to hold onto the lead now as he takes off Carlos Tevez and brings on Jack Rodwell, who has had a long spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

90 minCHANCE! Oh dear Jerome. A long throw from Shotton eventually finds the Stoke striker, but any composure appears to have evaded him as he sends an effort into row Z from just 10 yards out. Stoke now have five minutes of stoppage time to save themselves.

90+3 minAt the moment City are cruising into the fifth round. They're keeping the ball very well, while Stoke run around in the hope of stealing back possession. It's all getting a little desperate at the Britannia.

90+5 minFULL TIME: Stoke 0-1 Man City

2.41pmWell that was much easier for Man City than the scoreline suggests. The visitors were the better side by a long way and deserve their slot in round five of the competition. Disappointingly for Stoke, they never got going and posed very little threat throughout the 90 minutes.

2.42pmThat's all we have time from the Britannia. Thanks for joining us this afternoon, but stay with Sports Mole throughout the afternoon for coverage of all the football from at home and abroad. Enjoy!

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