Middlesbrough 1-1 Stoke City

Shaqiri Boro

Stoke’s 2016-17 season has kicked off with a draw at Middlesbrough.

The Potters got out of jail after a sluggish opening half, but Boro’s failure to put the game to bed proved costly.

Alvaro Negredo was able to capitalise on hesitant defending to bundle home on his debut- forcing the ball over the line past 40 year old Shay Given.

And Middlesbrough were to hit the woodwork three times in an impressive opening 45 minute spell.

But they began to tire, with Stoke enjoying the majority of possession in the second period.

In a similar tale to last season, possession lacked a cutting edge, with Stoke failing to hit the target with a shot from open play.

Thankfully Xherdan Shaqiri showed his quality from a set piece though. His curling, dipping left footed free-kick crept inside the post and into the back of the net.

From then on it seemed like Stoke were going to be the likely winners, but you’ll never win a match if you fail to hit the target.

Ultimately, a draw was probably a little fortunate, but Stoke deserve credit for coming out a different side for the second half.

A point on our travels is not a bad start to the season at all. Bring on Manchester City.

Stoke: Given, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters, Whelan, Imbula, Shaqiri, Bojan (Allen 78), Arnautovic, Diouf (Walters 69). Unused: Haugaard, Muniesa, Adam, Cameron, Crouch.

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