Diouf double beats West Brom

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:22

Diouf double beats West Brom

Diouf’s first goal came in the 51st minute, when he was left with too much time and space in the West Brom box, while he barely knew about his second in the 66th minute as Marko Arnautovic’s shot deflected off his legs.
The Baggies did have the chance to level at 1-0, but Asmir Begovic and the post prevented Gareth McAuley getting on the scoresheet.
Saido Berahino came on during the second half but was unable to trouble the reliable Stoke defence, as Ryan Shawcross and Marc Muniesa marshalled him and Brown Ideye to keep another clean sheet.
And at the end of the game, Joleon Lescott and Youssouf Mulumbu were visibly arguing as they made their way off the pitch.
West Brom started with captain Chris Brunt, Chris Baird, Graham Dorrans and Brown Ideye, while Berahino was again on the bench. Peter Crouch returned to the Stoke first XI in place of top scorer Jonathan Walters, who was left in reserve.
The visitors started brightly, with their first chance coming within the opening minutes. Ideye broke the offside trap but was unable to keep his shot down. The striker had another chance in the 18th minute, but Begovic got down low to push it out.
Baggies skipper Brunt unleashed a swerving strike in the 36th minute that went close but wide, before Stephane Sessegnon also fired off target.
Glenn Whelan got a long-range effort on target towards the end of the half that Ben Foster claimed, and Stoke were then relieved to see Craig Gardner loop a shot wide after losing possession in their own half.
The game only stayed goalless for six minutes of the second half. Bojan sent the ball out wide, Erik Pieters squared it into the area and Diouf had time to tee himself up before sending his shot flying past Foster to give Stoke the lead.
The Potters saw two decent chances to extend their advantage go begging in quick succession soon after, both coming from Diouf crosses. The first came to Crouch, who was just unable to finish at the near post after a challenge diverted the ball wide, and Arnautovic then nodded the next delivery wide.
It wasn’t long after that Berahino replaced Sessegnon and West Brom twice nearly levelled when Begovic blocked a Gardner shot and McAuley sent the rebound against the post.
Stoke’s second goal, in the 66th minute, showed luck was on their side as Arnautovic’s shot bounced off Diouf’s legs, leaving Foster helpless.
Although they did a lot of running in the final 20 minutes, Albion didn’t create any serious chances, which was the story of the game for Alan Irvine’s men, who were holding inquests even before they had left the field of play.
Soccer Special verdict – Paul Merson
“I thought West Brom were very unlucky, especially in the first half. They had a lot of shots outside the box and looked a nervous team; a team down on their luck. They were the better team in the first half, and in the second half both goals were deflections. You can always tell if a team is playing for their manager. If they’re down on their luck and it gets to 2-0 you don’t want it to get to 3-0 or 4-0 or 5-0. That’s when you start thinking the manager has lost it, but it looked like the players were working their socks off for him.”
Player Ratings
Stoke: Begovic (7); Cameron (7), Shawcross (7), Muniesa (6), Pieters (6); Nzonzi (7), Whelan (7); Diouf (7), Bojan (7), Arnautovic (7); Crouch (6).
Subs Used: Walters (7), Assaidi (6).
West Brom: Foster (7), Wisdom (5), Lescott (6), McAuley (6), Baird (6), Gardner (7), Morrison (7), Brunt (6), Dorrans (6), Sessegnon (6), Ideye (7).
Subs Used: Mulumbu (5), Varela (5), Berahino (5).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Marko Arnautovic.

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