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Crouch leveller denies Gladbach victory

Former England striker Crouch was left with a simple tap-in after good work from Jon Walters to ensure the Premier League club avoided defeat in their first pre-season game in Germany.

On-loan Chelsea midfielder Thorgan Hazard had put the Bundesliga side in front just after half-time with his first goal for the club in Rottach-Egern, but Crouch denied them victory.

There was some concern that the game may not go ahead when a storm delayed the start, but the two sides emerged from the dressing rooms and kicked off around 20 minutes late.

Mark Hughes fielded new signing Mame Biram Diouf in the first half, then Steve Sidwell, Phil Bardsley and Dionatan Teixeira came on at half-time to make their debuts as the Stoke boss fielded a different side in the second half.

Diouf had the chance to make an early impact when Ryan Shotton sent him clear, but the striker was thwarted by goalkeeper Christofer Heimeroth.

A fine piece of defending from Andy Wilkinson denied Max Kruse the opening goal at the other end when the striker looked poised to finish from six yards out, then Ryan Shawcross had the ball in the back of the Gladbach net but his header was disallowed seemingly for a push.

Kruse was denied by the post just before the break, but Lucien Favre's men were in front just after the interval when substitute Hazard made his mark.

The Belgian, who recently signed in a season-long loan deal, raced into the penalty area and drilled an effort into the bottom corner of the net as Thomas Sorensen was given no chance.

Stoke responded positively and Walters did well to look up and unselfishly pick out Crouch, who was left with the straightforward task of finding the empty net after 65 minutes.

Both sides had chances to win it, but had to settle for a draw in a competitive workout. 

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