Giggs watches on as James shines in Swansea’s win against nine-man Stoke
Dan James produced another scintillating display as Swansea downed nine-man Stoke 3-1 in front of watching Wales manager Ryan Giggs at the Liberty Stadium.
Giggs handed 21-year-old winger James his international debut and he excelled by scoring a stunning first-half opener and leading the Stoke defence a merry dance.
The Potters simply couldn’t cope with James who was wiped out by last man Bruno Martins Indi who saw red. He was also fouled in either half by Tom Edwards who was sent off for two bookings.
Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn and Stoke’s James McClean had both scored before the break, but Oli McBurnie made it 3-1 to the hosts in the second half.
Stoke named former Swans Ashley Williams, Joe Allen and Sam Clucas in their starting XI while Wales international striker Sam Vokes also began on familiar territory.
Swansea included young Wales talents Connor Roberts and James which made Giggs a more than interested observer from the Liberty Stadium stands.
James made a bright start by playing in Nathan Dyer who shot tamely at Jack Butland while at the other end Clucas was booed by the home crowd.
McBurnie was next to go close, first forcing Butland into a smart low save and then seeing a low cross deflected out for a corner. A home goal soon arrived with James the scorer.
The electric winger – so impressive since the New Year – cut inside from the left and his curling right-foot effort was too good for Butland as it went in off the post.
In the stands Giggs burst into applause while his Wales assistant Albert Stuivenberg held his heads in his hands in apparent disbelief at the quality of the goal.
It ended Stoke’s run of 591 minutes without conceding.
Vokes – who has fallen out of favour with Wales under Giggs – missed a sitter at the other end for Stoke as he side-footed wide.
James was then hacked down off the ball by Edwards who was booked and from the resulting free-kick Wayne Routledge fired across the box and Van der Hoorn tapped home.
Stoke had been awful to that point but made it 2-1 with the last kick of the half as McClean fired past Kristoffer Nordfeldt – who should have done better – from 30 yards.
Stoke just couldn’t cope with James and he raced clear at the start of the second half. Martins Indi hacked the winger down to see red.
Matt Grimes and George Byers went close with free-kicks and Dyer appealed for a penalty before the unstoppable James was fouled again by Edwards. The only possible result was a second booking and a sending off.
Swansea’s dominance became absolute with a two-man numerical advantage and McBurnie made the game safe late on as James was substituted to a standing ovation.