Brexit was still an implausible concept. Donald Trump just a reality TV star. Johan Cruyff, George Michael, Prince, and Muhammad Ali were all still with us.
That was the way the world looked when Saido Berahino last scored a senior goal. Until Tuesday night. Until he reacted sharpest to a shot by James McClean that hit the bar and bounced out in the 53rd minute.
Berahino planted his forehead to the ball and despite Hudderfield’s attempts to clear off the line the striker had finally opened his account for Stoke.
Stoke players congratulate Saido Berahino after the striker ended his lengthy goal drought
Berahino found the net as Stoke beat their Premier League opponents to make it through
The striker will hope that he will now be able to start scoring goals with more regularity
His last goal came for West Bromwich Albion in February 2016, a barren run stretching back 913 days and 47 games. In that time Berahino has seen his application questioned, his ability doubted. But perhaps, at last, this was the signal he is ready to resume regular scoring.
Gary Rowett said he would give Berahino a chance when appointed in the summer. He would take the 25-year-old as he finds. Privately, Stoke’s manager has been pleased with what he has seen and he’s remained true to his word.
This was Berahino’s fourth start of the season and Rowett has been rewarded without too much delay.
The whole Stoke team submerged Berahino with prolonged congratulations after his goal and the crowd cheered enthusiastically. This is a club eager to accept him back following an ill-fated spell under Paul Lambert when he was dropped to the Under-23s for bad time-keeping.
Huddersfield’s Juninho Bacuna scored an own goal late on as Stoke’s progress was secured
Berahino is congratulated by manager Gary Rowett as he is substituted in the closing stages
Stoke (4-4-2): Federici 7; Martina 7, Williams 7.5, Martins Indi 7, Pieters 7 (Bauer 78’); Diouf 7 (Bojan 64’ 6), Fletcher 7, Etebo 7, McClean 7; Berahino 8 (Adam 85’), Afobe 7
Subs not used: Haugaard, Allen, Adam, Campbell, Bojan, Souttar.
Goal: Berahino 53
Manager: Gary Rowett 7.5
Huddersfield (4-2-3-1): Lossl 6.5; Smith 6, Stankovic 6, Schindler 6, Durm (Lowe 77’); Williams 6 (Mooy 69’ 6), Bacuna 4; Kachunga 6, Sabiri 5 (Pritchard 46’ 6), Mbenza 6; Depoitre 5
Subs not used: Diakhaby, Quaner, Jorgensen, Schofield.
Referee: Peter Bankes 7
Should this Carabao Cup strike be the start of something more, Stoke will be firmly in contention for promotion. Berahino’s finishing is too good for them not to be.
‘Saido came to me on my first day, to see where he stood after previous regimes had perhaps ostracised him,’ Rowett said. ‘He said, “I’ve been to blame myself.” That’s the first step for anyone who wants to start afresh. That’s probably what he needed, a lucky break and he reacts well.’
Each manager saw this game differently. David Wagner changed Huddersfield’s entire line-up with the Premier League the priority. Rowett altered only four of his players so it was no surprise Stoke were on the front foot for the majority.
On the half hour, McClean drove into box, hit his shot hard and low, and Jonas Lossl saved with his legs.
Berahino had snatched two finishes already but after the interval his wait of two years, six months was over. It was a well-taken goal.
Huddersfield did press back late on and goalkeeper Lossl went close with a header when up for a corner in stoppage time.
Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl rushes out as he seeks to thwart Berahino
Stoke striker Benik Afobe attempts to get the better of Huddersfield’s Christopher Schindler
But Stoke extended their lead in comical circumstances when Juninho Bacuna got an attempted back pass from 50 yards horribly wrong, volleying Darren Fletcher’s clearance into his own net.
‘Our goalkeeper had our best chance in stoppage time. This speaks for itself,’ said Wagner.
‘The attitude was there but we have to be honest, the quality in the final third we have to improve.’
Huddersfield’s Isaac Mbenza looks to control the ball under pressure from Erik Pieters
Jon Gorenc Stankovic finds himself closed down by Berahino during the first half
Huddersfield manager David Wagner was left frustrated as his team were knocked out