By Phillipa Hopwood: Stoke City are through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup after an eight goal thriller at St Andrews ended with a victorious penalty shoot-out for The Potters.
Stoke could have been in front early on but Marko Arnautovic’s shot was blocked by Paul Robinson. But it was Stoke City new-boy Oussama Assaidi finally got off the mark for his new club after Marc Munesia’s back heeled found the path of the striker and he fired the ball of the underside of the bar.
Stoke’s lead lasted just seventeen minutes as The Hosts pulled back through a Birmingham breakaway which found Tom Adeyemi who calmly slotted the ball past Thomas Sorenson.
The Blues were down to 10 men on the striker of half time when Wade Elliot was awarded a straight red card for raising an elbow into the face of Assaidi.
Stoke took advantage of the extra man in the opening stages of the second half and it was only a matter of time before they got their noses back in front. Peter Crouch was the hero this time, as he nodded home Muniesa’s cross.
The visits then doubled their lead this time through Arnautovic, his second goal in four days, after Peter Crouch set him up just outside the area, the striker left fly and gave Stoke the 3-1 lead.
Peter Lovenkrands gave Birmingham hope five minutes from time when he stabbed home a shot after Stoke failed to clear, and in the third minute of added time, Lovenkrands again levelled the game for The Blues and forced extra time.
Just four minutes into extra time Kenwyne Jones gave Stoke the lead for the third time in the game after an easy tap in for the Trinidad and Tobago international.
Miraculously Birmingham again managed to equalise through Oliver Lee, after Stoke failed to clear the ball, his shot went through Robert Huth and out of reach for Sorenson.
All was square after extra time so penalties got underway, Birmingham missed their first two, Stoke followed this up with beautifully taken penalties from Marc Muniesa and Ryan Shawcross. Birmingham scored their next but Stoke’s Kenwyne Jones and Steven Nzonzi gave Stoke a full house and secure their place in the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup.