By Chris Wright
Flares? Shamless play-acting? Neo-Nazism? It truly was a European night at the Britannia yesterday evening, with Stoke securing themselves a narrow first-leg lead in their Europa League third-round qualifying tie with Hajduk Split courtesy of a Jonathan Walters header.
Fun fact: The Potter’s 1-0 win over Hajduk was only the club’s third ever European home game and their first since their brief flirtation with the UEFA Cup in the mid 1970’s – specifically a 3-1 win over FC Kaiserslautern in 1972/73 (with Geoff Hurst on the score sheet) and a 1-1 draw with Ajax two years later.
Stoke City line up before kick-off
A Hajduk Split fan witnesses Rory Delap’s gibbon-armed throw-in for the first time
Matty Etherington attempts to dispossess Mirko Oremus
Rory Delap nabs the ball from Mario Brkljaca
Gurn-tastic: Marc Wilson beats Marin Tomasov in the air
Jon Walters gets up at the near post to nod Stoke in front
Robert Huth sees his shot clip Hrvoje Vejic and ping over the bar
A cheap gag-merchant may suggest that this will be the only ‘flare’ on show at the Britannia this season, though Pies would never stoop to that level
“A big hello from Croatia!”
The second leg is due to take place at the Poljud Stadium in Split on August 4th, i.e, next Thursday.