Stoke, England – Peter Crouch struck a first-half brace to fire Stoke City to a 2-0 victory over goal-shy Swansea in a mid-table battle in the English Premier League on Saturday.
The former England international striker, signed from Tottenham for a club record £10 million, opened the scoring with a close-range header in the 12th minute and doubled up 10 minutes before half-time, striking home from inside the area.
The result was the perfect riposte to Stoke's 1-0 loss to leaders Chelsea last week and bucked a 11-match run without a victory, although they have only lost three times this season.
It also further cemented the Britannia Stadium as a hard place for visiting teams to win, the home side not having lost here since the first week of February.
Michael Laudrup's Swans opened the season with 10 goals in their first three games, but have now failed to find the net in three matches while conceding seven.
And although they dominated possession against Stoke, they did not manage a single strike on target, a lack of attacking flair that will doubtless worry Laudrup, the former Denmark, Barcelona
and Real Madrid midfielder.
It was 30 minutes before Swansea even threatened the Stoke defence, Spanish striker Miguel Michu going close with a first time shot from the edge of the box.
But for all their possession, the Welsh side invariably lacked a cutting edge, and it was Crouch who went closest at the end, the crossbar denying the giant a hat-trick 10 minutes from time.
Swansea and Stoke now sit in 11 and 12th spots in the 20-team Premier League, both on seven points. – Sapa-AFP