Goals from Steve Sidwell and Marko Arnautovic were enough for Stoke City to beat a Singapore Select XI 2-0 and clinch third place in the Asia Trophy on Saturday.
Having lost to Everton – who face Arsenal in the final – on penalties in Wednesday’s semi-final, Premier League Stoke ensured they will travel back to England on the back of a comfortable win at the Singapore National Stadium.
Mark Hughes’ men were ahead after seven minutes when Sidwell – who has never scored a competitive goal for Stoke – showed good movement to finish a Peter Crouch knockdown.
Arnautovic had a goal ruled out for offside in the first half, but he put his name on the scoresheet in the 73rd minute with a precise finish.
The early breakthrough had all the traits of a typically well-worked Stoke set-piece. Crouch escaped his marker from a corner to head into the path of Sidwell, who side-footed home from close range.
Stoke continued to press and Peter Odemwingie drilled a left-foot shot wide after cutting in from the right, before Arnautovic had the ball in the back of the net only to be flagged for offside with replays suggesting he may have been on.
There was a scare for Hughes’ side on the stroke of half-time when Safuwan Baharudin sprung the offside trap and lobbed over Shay Given only to see his shot drift just wide.
Mame Biram Diouf had a great opportunity in the 53rd minute when he raced clear of the Singapore defence, but he blasted his shot straight at goalkeeper Mohamad Izwan bin Mahbud.
The second goal did eventually arrive, though. Arnautovic picked up the ball on the left of the area and stepped inside his man before curling a low shot into the far corner.
Odemwingie was denied a third by the foot of Mahbud in the closing stages, but Stoke had done more than enough for a routine win.
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