Everton 0 - 0 Stoke City [5-4 on penalties]
The Barclays Asia Trophy became the first full match in Singapore's new National Stadium. Everton and Stoke City took the field in Premier League style with a regular team hand-pat, while those watching from afar were greeted on the commentary with "The Big News, of course is that Arsenal have come out here and they play in the second game" showing what a total twat Martin Tyler is!
A strong, if rather cautious and conventional starting line-up kicked off in regular Blue & White kit before a rather sparse crowd and tried to dominate possession from the off. Barkley fed Mirallas wide right and he cut in nicely but his shot was not that strong.
Bardsley almost got behind the Everton defence but the covering was effective and the danger snuffed out. However, this gave Stoke a bit of drive and the competitiveness of the game was evident, Everton surging forward quite nicely with Galloway crossing early and into the danger area.
A really nice move saw Barkley play the ball up to Lukaku, who headed back for Mirallas and Barkley followed up, dribbling well to win the corner that Mirallas took but nothing came of it. Barkley was looking good, and seeking to play the early ball, which Lukaku might have done better with.
Galloway was also catching the eye with some great forward runs on the left, and not getting the benefit off the referee. At the other end Odemwinge should have hammered home an easy chance right in front of Howard as the Everton defence were rather easily exposed.
Pienaar was getting well involved, seemingly playing a fairly central role, and winning some free-kicks in his usual manner. Mirallas sent in a good one that Jagielka headed wide.
Everton in general were playing with a pleasing positive intent, and getting the ball forward with notably greater pace than many times last season, Mirallas showing another great move and cutting in again from the right but the placement of players in the box on the receiving end of his low cross continued to be the problem when it came to converting good effort into end product. A drinks break mid-way through the half was a relief for all.
Hibbert was caught and eventually ended up on his face, allowing Arnautovic to advance with the ball but Howard, saved as the Stoke player was tackled by Jagielka. Pienaar was fouled again, earning Bardsley a yellow card. Pienaar hit the ground hard again, and needed some on-field treatment, with Naismith readying himself on the sidelines... only to retake his seat on the bench.
Arnautovic taunted Browning somewhat to play in Ireland who shot high and wide. Mirallas scampered forward for a shot that was blocked. Everton were linking up well a times and looked to be much the better side in terms of football, but unable to create real chances despite some good balls being played in to Lukaku.
Just before the break, Pienaar, advancing down the left channel, slid a ball beautifully towards the middle to release Lukaku into the area. Lukaku rounded Haugaard on the left, and slipped the ball into the net, but he was a yard offside.
Naismith darted into the area and saw a great early shot finger0tipped over, Everton's best chance, just seconds after the start of the second half. Lukaku and Haugaard then collided clumsily.
Deulofeu's first touch was poor, giving the ball away under no pressure. Another goods forward move, with five Everton players attacking, was too easily stalled by Stoke. Naismith was clipped and Deulofeu banged in a free kick, 30 yards out, easily saved by Haugaard.
Deulofeu leaps on a loose ball in the middle of the park. He races towards the box, But Cameron strode in too easily and robed him of the ball. Great defending, but Deulofeu should have shoot earlier.
Odemwingie fired in a great low cross and it seemed Ireland must score but somehow Howard kept it out, and Everton went up he other end where Deulofeu should have done far better, trying to pass the ball around the keeper.
Fairly open play from both sides was entertaining but largely ineffective as neither side seemed to have the real quality where it was needed most -- in front of goal. Adam was the next to fire wide.
Stoke made a strong move through the middle with Adam playing in Van Ginkel but his attempt was blocked. At the other end Deulofeu made another great run but the decision-making at the critical moment was all wrong, allowing Cameron again to cross him and take the ball as he crucially hesitated. McCarthy hobbled off to be replaced by Konef or the last 10 minutes.
Deulofeu drew a couple of Stoke players towards him to the left of the Stoke D, then flicked a pass between them to send Naismith into the box, one-on-one with Haugaard, at a tight angle, but the Stoke keeper wins the duel, after an alarming scramble.
Lukaku picked the ball up in the centre-circle and drove forward only to spoon the most dreadful shot from 35 yards out. Shockingly poor... Browning was next to squander the advantage, a good move but his touch too heavy, losing the ball.
Lukaku latched onto a loose ball in the Stoke half and powered towards the goal again. He should have scored, but delivered a poor scuffed effort wide of the left post. A really poor effort, but Lukaku was running at Haugard again off a terrific first-time ball over the top from McCarthy or Cleverley? Only for the keeper to win the final duel yet again.
And so to Penalties:
- Stoke City 1-0 Everton: Adam smacks it bottom left.
- Stoke City 1-1 Everton: Lukaku stutters and pops it into the bottom left.
- Stoke City 1-1 Everton: Van Ginkel pelts his to the left, and he’s denied by a strong Howard hand.
- Stoke City 1-2 Everton: Cleverley batters his into the right-hand portion of the net.
- Stoke City 2-2 Everton: Walters smoothly rolls his into the bottom right.
- Stoke City 2-3 Everton: Stones sidefoots calmly into the right, Haugaard going the other way.
- Stoke City 3-3 Everton: Bardsley larrups it straight down the middle. Howard dives out of the way.
- Stoke City 3-4 Everton: Deulofeu blooters his into the bottom right. Everton are very close to the big game now...
- Stoke City 4-4 Everton: Crouch slots it into the bottom left.
- Stoke City 4-5 Everton: Jagielka lashes it into the top right corner, and Everton are through.
Everton: Howard; Hibbert (46' Stones), Jagielka, Browning, Galloway; Barry (46' Cleverley), McCarthy (82' Kone); Pienaar (46' Osman), Barkley (46' Naismith), Mirallas (46' Deulofeu); Lakaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Coleman, Garbutt, Kenny, Williams, Robinson.
Stoke City: Haugaard, Bardsley [Y:30'], Cameron, Muniesa (63' Wilson), Teixeira, Sidwell, Shenton (72' Walters), Odemwingie (63' Van Ginkel), Ireland, Arnautovic (46' Adam), Joselu (63' Crouch).
Subs not Used: Given, Whelan, Johnson, Diouf, Moha.
Referee: Craig Pawson
Attendance: 29,800, according to the Guardian blog