Marten de Roon’s strike the only difference in mediocre Tees-Wear derby

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prolonging the inevitable

Boro keep very slim survival hopes alive as David Moyes’ Black Cats edge closer to the Championship

MIDDLESBROUGH claimed local bragging rights and prolonged their inevitable relegation with a 1-0 victory over Sunderland on Wednesday.

In a mediocre clash that had little drama or class, it Marten de Roon’s early strike that proved the difference between two sides destined for the drop.

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Marten de Roon broke the deadlock for Middlesbrough against Sunderland after only nine minutes

Marten de Roon slid in to break the deadlock after just nine minutes

Reuters

Marten de Roon slid in to break the deadlock after just nine minutes

The Dutchman’s goal came from Boro’s first attack of the night after they were penned in by the visitors in the opening stages.


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But it took only one pass to pierce the Sunderland defence as Ben Gibson lofted a long punt forward from inside his own half.

That carved David Moyes’ men apart, and de Roon raced forward into the area and took a touch before stabbing the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.



That well and truly knocked the stuffing out of the Black Cats, and Stewart Downing should have doubled Boro’s advantage shortly afterwards.

The winger again raced clear from 30 yards out after the backline was split again, but this time Pickford was able to deny him with his legs.

The home keeper Brad Guzan was then called into action before the break as he showed strong wrists to stop a fierce strike from Didier Ndong.

Marten de Roons strike moved Boro to within six points of safety with four games to go

Getty Images

Marten de Roon’s strike moved Boro to within six points of safety with four games to go

David Moyes side remain 12 points from safety with just five games remaining

PA:Press Association

David Moyes’ side remain 12 points from safety with just five games remaining

The biggest cheer of the night came when referee Mike Dean was floored accidentally by Sunderlands Didier Ndong

Reuters

The biggest cheer of the night came when referee Mike Dean was floored accidentally by Sunderlands Didier Ndong

The American shotstopper was called into action again moments after the restart as he pushed away Wahbi Khazri’s free-kick.

But that was the closest anyone came to adding to the scoring as Boro held on to keep their faint hopes of survival alive.

FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS

  • This was the first league meeting between these two sides since January 2009 – a 1-1 draw.
  • Steve Agnew made Antonio Barragan the scapegoat for Boro’s 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday. He was the only unforced change from that side, with Gaston Ramirez the other missing through suspension.
  • David Moyes named an unchanged side from the team that drew 2-2 with West Ham ten days ago.

    Middlesbrough fans hung shirts up outside of the Riverside to pay tribute to the late Ugo Ehiogu

    PA:Press Association

    Middlesbrough fans hung shirts up outside of the Riverside to pay tribute to the late Ugo Ehiogu

    The official match programme also had the former Boro stars image on the cover

    The official match programme also had the former Boro star’s image on the cover

    Boro supporters also paid tribute to Ugo Ehiogu inside the ground

    Reuters

    Boro supporters also paid tribute to Ugo Ehiogu inside the ground

  • The Black Cats boss has never recovered from when he declared his side would be in a relegation fight after losing at home to Boro in just the second match of the season.
  • There was a poignant round of applause before kick-off in memory of Ugo Ehiogu, the former Boro centre-half who tragically died last week. They also clapped when the clock turned to 44 minutes – the age Ehiogu was when he passed away.
  • Marten de Roon opened the scoring for Middlesbrough with his fifth goal of the season and his second in four games.
  • Sunderland’s away fans sang “We want Moyesy out” after just 21 minutes – the second straight game they have turned on their boss.
  • Those same supporters have certainly not lost their sense of humour. They sang “You’re going down with the Sunderland” to Boro fans, who applauded in return.
  • This was Agnew’s first win in his seventh match as Boro boss – and the club’s first victory in 2017.
  • The Black Cats have now won just one of their last 16 games.

BIG PICTURE

NEXT FIXTURES

Middlesbrough

Sun Apr 30 – Man City (H) – PL

Mon May 8 – Chelsea (A) – PL

Sat May 13 – Southampton (H) – PL

Sun May 21 – Liverpool (A) – PL

Sunderland

Sat Apr 29 – Bournemouth (H) – PL

Sat May 6 – Hull (A) – PL

Sat May 13 – Swansea (H) – PL

Tue May 16 – Arsenal (A) – PL

Sun May 21 – Chelsea (H) – PL

SOCIAL SAYS

DREAM TEAM RATINGS

Middlesbrough: Guzan, Chambers, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, de Roon, Clayton, Forshaw, Stuani, Negredo, Downing

Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Fabio, Bernardo, Fischer, Bamford, Gestede, Traore

Sunderland: OIckford, Jones, O’Shea, Denayer, Manquillo, Ndong, Cattermole, Gibson, Khazri, Defoe, Anichebe

Subs not used: Mannone, Rodwell, Borini, Lescott, Pienaar, Kone, Januzaj

WHAT THEY SAID

Quotes to follow…



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