A sublime brace by Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri fired Stoke City to 2-0 victory over Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
- Hull City 0 Stoke City 2
- Visitors start brightly
- Shaqiri smashes home a beauty
- Shaqiri nets second from free-kick
- Hull suffer fifth consecutive defeat
Stoke City started like a house on fire, with Xherdan Shaqiri proving to be influential in the early stages.
The Tigers were punished for their deep defensive line, when Shaqiri smashed in a sublime effort with his left foot after being allowed too much space just outside the area.
Shaqiri doubled his side's advantage in the 50th minute, when his expertly-taken free-kick eluded both the wall and the opposition shot-stopper.
Content with their two-goal lead, Stoke played the remainder of the game with less intensity, knowing they had the result in the bag as they registered their first back-to-back wins since March.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) October 22, 2016
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams, with Xherdan Shaqiri being presented with the first opportunity of the game, but the diminutive forward fluffed his shot after a great long ball by Bruno Martins Indi.
Shaqiri and Joe Allen combined brilliantly in the tenth minute to weave their way into the Tigers area, but the Welshman failed to get on the end of a chipped ball by Shaqiri.
Mike Phelan' side were presented with their first opportunity when Will Keane's snapshot was blocked Ryan Shawcross, with the referee rightfully waving away the subsequent appeals for handball.
The Tigers were punished for their deep defensive line in the 26th minute, when Shaqiri was allowed too much space just outside the box and curled in an absolute beauty with his left foot.
Shaqiri was again in the thick of things minutes later, when his well-floated ball found Marko Arnautovic in the area, but goalkeeper David Marshall quickly rushed off his line to spare Hull's blushes.
The goal took the wind out of the home side's sail as the pressure that they earlier exerted during the encounter had vanished by the 40th minute, as Stoke continued to dominate proceedings.
The visitors doubled their advantage in the 50th minute and completely stunned the home side, when Shaqiri netted a free-kick from just outside the area.
In a desperate bid to score a goal, the Tigers opted to reshuffle their formation for a more attacking approach, with Phelan bringing on on Harry Maguire and Adama Diomande.
A late surge by the home side resulted in efforts from Diomande and Abel Hernandez being ruled offside and saved by the Stoke goalkeeper respectively.
Content with their two-goal lead, Stoke played the remainder of the game with less intensity knowing that they had the result in the bag as they registered their first back-to-back since March.
The result sees Phelan's charges suffer their fifth consecutive league defeat, dropping them into the dreaded relegation zone.