Maccabi Tel Aviv 1 - 2 Stoke City: Peter Crouch helps Stoke close in on last 32

SECOND-HALF goals from Dean Whitehead and Peter Crouch earned Stoke a notable win in Tel Aviv and took them to the brink of qualification for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

The Potters had beaten their Israeli opponents 3-0 a fortnight ago at the Britannia Stadium but Maccabi went into the match unbeaten in 12 European games at Bloomfield Stadium stretching back to 2004.

Stoke had much the better of the first half without managing to break the deadlock, but Whitehead put that right six minutes after the break with a neat finish from a tight angle before substitute Crouch tucked away the midfielder’s cross 13 minutes later, with Roberto Colautti’s late header just a consolation for the hosts.

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Stoke still have work to do, though, thanks to Besiktas’ win over Dynamo Kiev last night, although a point against the Ukrainians at the Britannia Stadium on 1 December will be enough for Tony Pulis’ side.