John Obi Mikel’s Stoke City reached the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after defeating Aston Villa 1-0 on Thursday night.
Sam Vokes’ first-half striker was all Michael O’Neill’s side needed to win at Villa Park, and in the process securing a place in the competition’s last eight for the first time in five years.
The former Chelsea star was handed a starter’s role to former a five-man Potters’ midfield alongside Jordan Thompson, Josh Tymon, Jacob Brown and Nick Powell.
With barely 40 seconds in the game, Tyrese Campbell played in Vokes down the right, however, Kortney Hause blocked his cross meant for Powell.
The Premier League side’s first chance of the game fell to Jacob Ramsey whose tame header was saved by goalkeeper Adam Davies.
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Stoke’s breakthrough came in the 26th minute after Vokes headed past Jed Steer a well-taken corner from Thompson. That goal was a reality check for the hosts who attacked in their number in search of an equaliser. (Nation)