Stoke 3-0 Macc Tel-Aviv

By Michael Da SilvaBBC Sport
Kenwyne Jones
Kenwyne Jones returned from injury to head in Stoke's opening goal

Stoke took a giant stride towards the knockout phase of the Europa League with victory over Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

Kenwyne Jones headed in the opener from a Dean Whitehead corner, with Cameron Jerome nodding home Matthew Etherington's free-kick for the second.

A defensive error allowed Ryan Shotton to make it 3-0 before Jerome was sent off for a second booking.

Maccabi's Yoan Ziv also saw red in the second half for kicking a boot at the assistant referee.

The ease with which Stoke brushed aside their Israeli opponents bodes well for the return fixture in early November, when a win could could secure their passage to the last 32.

Tony Pulis again shuffled his pack, making seven changes from the side that beat Fulham on Saturday, and saw his side go ahead as early as the 12th minute.

Moments after a Jerome header came back off the crossbar, Jones rose unmarked at a corner to nod emphatically past Guy Haimov.

It was no surprise when Stoke made it two midway through the half, Jerome getting on the scoresheet when he took advantage of a feeble attempt by Maccabi to play offside to finish Etherington's in-swinging free-kick.

Maccabi could have got back in it soon after but Moussa Konate saw his shot saved when he perhaps should have fed Elran Atar, who had plenty of space in the box.

However, it was only a matter of time before Stoke notched up a third, and Maccabi had goalkeeper Haimov to blame.

Racing out of his penalty area after a poor clearance, Haimov was beaten to the ball by Jerome, who rolled it to the waiting Shotton to fire a low shot past the goalkeeper.

Stoke were on the rampage but their night was soured by the referee's decision to show Jerome a second yellow card on the stroke of half time.

Tangling with Ziv, Cameron caught him with a flailing elbow, causing the Israeli defender to go down a little easily. However, the referee was in no doubt, much to the displeasure of the home fans.

With the Stoke supporters jeering Ziv's every subsequent touch, the pantomime atmosphere created by the home crowd reached a crescendo when Ziv was shown a straight red shortly after the break in extraordinary circumstances.

Riled by a decision that went against him, Ziv kicked his displaced boot at the assistant referee and, after a short consultation between the officials, he was given his marching orders and the loudest cheer of the night.

With both sides down to 10 men, Jones and Shotton each had chances to add a fourth but Maccabi repelled Stoke's attacks to keep the score respectable.

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