Cape Town - Stoke City stood toe-to-toe with champions Chelsea, manager Mark Hughes said while praising his players after the club knocked out the holders on penalties in the League Cup on Tuesday.
The Potters took the lead after Jonathan Walters' stunning effort in the 52nd minute but Chelsea clawed their way back at the death as Loic Remy rifled home a last-gasp leveller to take the tie into extra-time.
Things went from bad to worse for Stoke as defender Phil Bardsley received his second booking of the night for a lunge into Kenedy, and the hosts had to play 30 minutes with 10 men.
They, however, held on and clinched the tie when goalkeeper Jack Butland made a superb save to deny Chelsea's Eden Hazard, as they won 5-4 on penalties.
"Chelsea are a very good team and it took a huge effort from my guys to overcome them this evening," Hughes told the club's website (www.stokecityfc.com) after the game.
"You saw by the strength of the side that Jose picked tonight that we are respected by them and knew that they were in for a real challenge against us.
"We were able to stand toe-to-toe with them and eventually take the game away from them, thankfully."
"It has been a tremendous evening for everybody connected to the club," the former Manchester City manager added.