RYAN SHAWCROSS and Tuncay struck in extra time as Stoke dramatically emerged victorious from their three-game epic with Manchester City last night.
Craig Bellamy had ensured the FA Cup fifth-round replay at the Britannia Stadium finished 1-1 after 90 minutes by immediately cancelling out Dave Kitson’s late strike.
But the Potters made a numerical advantage after Emmanuel Adebayor’s harsh sending off count by reclaiming the lead through Shawcross from a Rory Delap throw and Tuncay finished the job.
The only concern for Stoke, whose strong finish was in stark contrast to their slow start, was the view the FA might take of a missile being thrown at Shay Given.
After a tame first half, Stoke started the second period at a higher intensity and put the visiting defence under considerable pressure.
The game exploded into life 11 minutes from time as Kitson, introduced five minutes earlier, played a one-two with substitute Tuncay and raced past Wayne Bridge to score.
Stoke’s supporters cheered as if a last-eight clash with Chelsea was settled but their joy was tempered as Bellamy immediately replied.
Adebayor selflessly chested down a cross from Bridge and Bellamy rushed in to fire low past Sorensen.
The game barely had time to settle before Adebayor was sent off after being adjudged to have raised his arms too high in trying to hold off Shawcross.
Shawcross almost won it in stoppage time but headed wide from a Glenn Whelan corner and Ricardo Fuller also fired narrowly off-target from outside the box.
But Shawcross made amends five minutes into extra time as City again fell for a Delap throw.
Delap was not far inside the City half as he launched a huge throw into the box and Shawcross timed his leap perfectly to head past Given.
This time Stoke made good on their advantage and grabbed a third goal on the counter-attack four minutes later.
Whelan picked out Tuncay with a fine cross-field pass and the former Middlesbrough forward showed great skill to beat two defenders and fire past Lescott on the line.
The damage was done and Stoke played out time as the fans celebrated.
STOKE: Sorensen, Whitehead, Shawcross, Huth, Collins, Lawrence (Pugh 72), Whelan, Diao (Tuncay 54), Delap, Sidibe (Kitson 74), Fuller.
MAN CITY: Given, Richards, Onuoha, Lescott, Bridge (Santa Cruz 86), Zabaleta, Ireland (Wright-Phillips 61), Kompany, Barry (Sylvinho 108), Bellamy, Adebayor.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved