Hull City's downward spiral continued as a Xherdan Shaqiri double subjected them to another defeat after a lacklustre performance by the hosts.
Shaqiri takes control
Swiss international Shaqiri has been inconsistent of late but certainly brought his best form to the KCOM stadium as he gave the hosts a number of warnings from the outset. The midfielder created the first shot of the game when he dragged a shot wide on five minutes. Moments later an excellent teasing cross was inches away from finding Joe Allen who would have undoubtedly added a fourth goal in as many games.
Whilst Shaqiri was threatening at one end, Will Keane was the danger man at the other. He had a shot blocked by Ryan Shawcross, before heading a Ryan Mason corner wide. Back at the opposite end of the ground, Shaqiri saw an effort expertly blocked by the returning Michael Dawson.
Yet it was to be Stoke's star who opened the scoring with a screamer from 25 yards. As Hull's defence backed off, Shaqiri let rip with a rasping effort that flew into the top corner and gave the visitors the lead. Shaqiri then almost created another just moments later as he found Marko Arnautovic before the winger was thwarted by the legs of David Marshall.
Wilfried Bony went close to doubling the lead on half-time but was the victim of another excellent block by Dawson, as Hull were in damaged limitation mode to keep the deficit down to just one goal.
Hull are unable to respond as Shaqiri strikes again
Shaqiri had certainly been the stand out player in the first half and he did not take long to continue the trend in the second. Five minutes after the break the former Inter Milan man was hacked down by Curtis Davies outside the box. He then stepped up himself to whip home is second of the game and a fourth consecutive goal from outside the area.
Abel Hernandez came on for the hosts and at least attempted to test Lee Grant but never really threatened with a couple of efforts. At the other end Joe Alllen thrashed a better effort towards Hull's goal before David Marshall parried the ball away. Marshall was then called into action oncemore as Shaqiri found Arnautovic before the Austrian fired another effort at the Scotsman's goal.
The hosts did threaten with a number of crosses towards the end of the match but could not create and opportunity of note. The best chance of the final 15 minutes fell to Allen as his half volley was turned round the post by Marshall.
The game did flare up at the end of the game as a trio of Stoke players were booked after the final whistle but that was the only negative from another excellent performance. For Hull manager Mike Phelan, the pressure is on after a sixth defeat in seven games.