Simon Lowe: Swansea style blitzed by Stoke substance
A GLINT of sun shone off the stadium roof.
Thousands of Stokies in red and white filled the air with noise, urging their heroes to get close to the opposing players, who played neat, quick and bright passing football.
But this time City wore down opponents who were clearly more comfortable on the ball and adept at a passing game to triumph.
Swansea fell to two sucker punches which made a mockery of their slick interplay.
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Corner. Upson. Goal.
Long throw. Crouch. Goal.
That's 2-0. Thank you very much, and goodnight.
Brendan Rodgers may maintain his side were the better team, but the scoresheet begs to differ.
Those three Premier League points will settle nerves and also vindicate TP's decision to take only a skeleton squad to Valencia.
The risk he had taken in leaving behind almost the entire starting 11 yesterday, having urged as many Stokies as possible to get themselves out to Spain to support the team, was significant.
Things could have turned ugly in the stands if Scott Sinclair had got his shooting boots on and had planted his first-minute chance into the net instead of the Boothen End.
And the clean sheet would have been ruined had Asmir Begovic not tipped Steven Caulker's header on to the bar.
Some days these things go for you and, on the whole, City earned their luck.
Sadly it was missing at the Mestella on Thursday.
The team put on a decent show, despite the line-up having a distinctly unfamiliar look.
Mind you, Diego Arismendi showed plenty of promise, Ricardo Fuller proved he's still got all his old verve and even good old Salif Diao lasted until the half-hour mark before picking up a yellow card.
Stoke were worth a draw in Valencia, but it wasn't to be. We lost to worthy opponents.
There is hardly any disgrace, though, in departing from European competition at the same stage as Ajax, Porto, Lazio and Anderlecht.
There might have been no miracle of the Mestalla for TP and his men, but the season will long be remembered for the European fun and frolics.
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