Superb Shaqiri fires Stoke past slumping Hull

Kingston upon Hull (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Xherdan Shaqiri’s marvellous brace moved Stoke City out of the Premier League relegation zone on Saturday after a 2-0 victory away to struggling Hull City.

Switzerland international Shaqiri rifled in a long-range strike on 26 minutes at the KCOM Stadium before converting a second-half free-kick as Stoke registered successive wins for the first time since March.

Mark Hughes’s side extended their unbeaten run to four matches but a fifth consecutive defeat for Hull left the slumping Tigers languishing in the bottom three. 

Hull captain Michael Dawson made his first appearance of the season following his recovery from knee ligament damage as Mike Phelan’s men sought to bounce back from a 6-1 trouncing at Bournemouth last weekend.

Shaqiri, who hadn’t scored since the opening game of the season, exhibited wonderful control to bring down a long ball from Bruno Martins Indi inside the first few minutes but the Swiss ultimately sliced wide. 

Close-season signing Will Keane went close for Hull with a header, the former Manchester United striker still searching for his first goal since completing his move from Old Trafford in August.

But a moment of individual brilliance from Shaqiri gave Stoke the lead as he picked up the ball on the right wing, jinked inside and unleashed a superb curling strike into the top corner beyond David Marshall.

The Scotland goalkeeper raced off his line to thwart Marko Arnautovic as the visitors looked to increase their advantage, before a crucial tackle from Dawson prevented Wilfried Bony from opening his Stoke account.

Shaqiri punished Hull once more five minutes into the second half after he was fouled by Curtis Davies on the edge of the area, the winger whipping the ensuing free-kick over the wall and into the right-hand corner of Marshall’s goal.

Joe Allen, scorer of five goals in his past four games for club and country, forced Marshall to turn away his crisp strike as Stoke sought to land the knockout blow.

Hull brought on Abel Hernandez and the Uruguayan striker immediately drew a save out of Lee Grant in what represented a rare opportunity for the hosts. 

Arnautovic and Ryan Shawcross both tested Marshall again, with Allen then seeing his half-volley tipped around the post after a fine pass from the Austrian.

Hull did find the back of the net seven minutes from the end but Adama Diomande was rightly ruled offside.

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