Boro v Leicester City Report
The Riverside faithful were left frustrated as their side played out a dull 0-0 draw against Leicester City to make it three games without a win.
Aitor Karanka made several changes from the side who let the lead slip at the Theatre of Dreams, most notably with Brad Guzan replacing the injured Victor Valdes.
It looked like it would be a long afternoon for Middlesbrough who conceded a series of early free kicks resulting in a spell of mounted pressure from the visitors.
The game’s first chances fell to Leicester when Christian Fuchs twice screwed his left footed efforts wide of the goal, before Andy King had an effort easily saved from outside the area.
A solid defensive display from captain Wes Morgan, and ex Boro defender Robert Huth frustrated Middlesbrough’s attacking players with Ramirez struggling to make his mark on the game.
It was a typical afternoon for speed demon Adama Traore whose pace often wreaked havoc only for his final delivery to disappoint, leading to moans and groans from the home crowd.
A contentious moment came in the first half when a Huth blocked Traore from entering the penalty area leading to cries for a penalty- with the referee coming in for criticism after a more than questionable opening period.
Middlesbrough managed just one shot on target through George Friend whose trademark surging run lead to a fizzed effort from 25 yards which was easily saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
But Boro’s best chance came on 83 minutes when Ramirez received the ball six yards out only to send his effort disappointingly into the side netting.
Frustration continued to grow in the Riverside towards the final whistle with Karanka’s men failing to pose any kind of threat in front of goal.
This wasn’t helped by the lack of proactive substitutions, with Stuart Downing not replacing the patchy Traore until the 80th minute, and the impressive Adam Forshaw being replaced by skipper Grant Leadbitter.
With the news filtering around the Riverside of an accepted £6m bid for Villa target man Rudy Gestede earlier in the day, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Jordan Rhodes who once again failed to be introduced in a game crying out for natural finisher.
Credit must go to Forshaw, Clayton and Fabio who were Boro’s top performers on a day where a single moment of quality could, and should, have turned one point into three in a previously titled “must-win game”.
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Brad Guzan, Antonia Barragan (George Friend 34), Calum Chambers, Ben Gibson, Fabio, Marten De Roon, Adam Clayton, Adam Forshaw (Grant Leadbitter 89), Adama Traore (Stuart Downing 80), Gaston Ramirez, Alvaro Negredo.
Subs not used: Dimi Konstantopoulos, Bernardo Espinosa, Cristhian Stuani, Jordan Rhodes.
Match report by Phil Spencer.