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Southampton vs Stoke City. Premier League.

St. Mary's StadiumAttendance30,039.

Southampton 0

    Stoke City 1

    • Bojan (10th minute)

    Southampton 0-1 Stoke: Bojan makes the difference

    Bojan Krkic gives Stoke City the lead against Southampton
    Image: Bojan gives Stoke City the lead against Southampton

    An early Bojan strike proved to be the difference as Stoke made it five wins from seven with a 1-0 victory over Southampton at St Mary's.

    Bojan's goal on 10 minutes was enough to separate the teams as the home side's six-game unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt following a lacklustre display.

    Despite enjoying the bulk of the possession, Southampton could not register a shot on target until the 70th minute thanks to a well-organised Stoke side who counter-attacked with menace.

    Stoke - who have now kept a fourth clean sheet in a row on the road - came close to extending their advantage, but Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic and substitute Ibrahim Afellay failed to convert a number of clear-cut chances.

    Dusan Tadic went close first for the home side when he picked up Jordy Clasie's loose shot in the box before swivelling brilliantly 10 yards out and drilling his effort just wide of Jack Butland's goal.

    Graziano Pelle of Southampton and Philipp Wollscheid of Stoke City compete for the ball
    Image: Graziano Pelle and Philipp Wollscheid compete for the ball

    A few minutes later Stoke took the lead with a wonderful team goal. The away side worked the ball from right to left, with Arnautovic finding Erik Pieters and his low, deflected cross found former Barcelona man Bojan, who flicked the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg with the outside of his boot from five yards.

    It should have been 2-0 soon after when Bojan's pass was played directly into the stride of Shaqiri bearing down on goal, but his effort was well blocked by Stekelenburg.

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    Southampton became more involved as the half wore on and could have had a penalty when Philipp Wollscheid appeared to have a hold of Graziano Pelle in the box as the Italian looked to get on the end of Steven Davis' cross.

    The hosts had their best chance to equalise after 21 minutes. Shaqiri's foul on Tadic gave Davis the chance to whip the ball into the box but Jose Fonte could not direct his free header on target.

    Bojan Krkic of Stoke City celebrates scoring his team's first goal against Southampton.
    Image: Bojan celebrates opening the scoring

    Ronald Koeman's side were having a frustrating opening 45 minutes, summed up perfectly when Tadic, Pelle and Davis combined to release the Northern Irishman but, surprisingly, he hesitated in front of goal and his tame effort was cleared.

    There was a moment of panic in the Stoke ranks 10 minutes before half-time when Davis' lofty free-kick into the box was inexplicably spilled by the in-form Butland but Victor Wanyama could not follow up.

    Tadic then had another chance to get on the scoresheet after a speedy break from the hosts but, instead of playing Shane Long in, he checked his run before firing over the bar.

    After the break Stoke had a great chance to double their lead when Bojan's backheel found Arnautovic who cut the ball back for Shaqiri but he blazed his first-time effort over the bar from 15 yards.

    Mark Hughes, manager of Stoke City, looks on against Ronald Koeman's Southampton
    Image: Managers Mark Hughes and Ronald Koeman look on from the touchline

    The two sides traded chances through Shaqiri and Tadic before Southampton started piling on the pressure, with Wanyama firing just wide from the edge of the box.

    Indeed it was not until the 70th minute - and the introduction of Saido Mane from the bench - until the home side registered a shot on target but, even then, Butland gathered with ease.

    Ronald Koeman felt his Southampton side should have been awarded a penalty

    Southampton pressed forward but it was Stoke who were the more dangerous of the two sides. Arnautovic could have wrapped up the points but fired well over the bar after a delightful through ball from Glen Johnson.

    Adam then missed the target from range before substitute Afellay drilled a low and powerful effort just wide of the diving Stekelenburg's post.

    Cedric Soares of Southampton and Erik Pieters of Stoke City compete for the ball
    Image: Cedric Soares and Erik Pieters vie for the ball

    Pelle then had an even better shout for a penalty with less than 10 minutes remaining as he appeared to be blatantly kicked by Wollscheid in the box, but referee Lee Mason again said no.

    Afellay had two more chances in the dying minutes to seal the three points but he was denied, first by Stekelenburg, and then he fluffed his lines with the goalkeeper scrambling to get back into position having made a last gasp tackle to deny Mame Biram Diouf.

    Player ratings

    Southampton: Stekelenburg (6), Van Dijk (5), Fonte (5), Bertrand (5), Cédric Soares (6), Clasie (5), S Davis (5), Long (4), Wanyama (5), Tadic (5), Pellè (5)

    Subs used: Mane (4), Ward-Prowse (3)

    Stoke: Butland (5), Wollscheid (6), Pieters (6), Shawcross (6), Johnson (7), Shaqiri (5), Bojan (7), Whelan (6), Adam (6), Arnautovic (8), Walters (6)

    Subs used: Afellay (4), Cameron (3)

    Man of the match: Marko Arnautovic

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