Championship
Brighton0Middlesbrough3

Brighton & Hove Albion 0-3 Middlesbrough

Kike
Kike's first goal for four months put Middlesbrough ahead against Brighton

Middlesbrough confirmed they will be top of the Championship at Christmas by winning at Brighton and ending the Seagulls' unbeaten start to the season.

Chris Hughton's side had avoided defeat in their opening 21 league games.

Kike's first goal since 18 August, a near-post header from Albert Adomah's fourth-minute cross, put Boro in front.

Adomah diverted in Daniel Ayala's header to make it 2-0 at half-time and Cristhian Stuani nodded in from close range after the break to seal victory.

Leaders Middlesbrough are three points clear of Brighton, who surrendered second place in the table as Derby won at Ipswich.

The home side's failure to deal with crosses proved to be their undoing, with all three of Middlesbrough's goals coming from centres into the box.

Brighton struggled to break through a resolute Boro defence, which kept their 12th clean sheet in 22 league outings this term and has not conceded a goal in any of their last six Championship matches.

Brighton 0-3 Middlesbrough as it happened

The pundit's view

Former West Bromwich Albion striker Jason Roberts on BBC Radio 5 live: "Brighton could have been a bit more decisive. Make no mistake, they've come up against a really strong, well-oiled unit.

"(Middlesbrough head coach) Aitor Karanka hasn't shouted and screamed, he's been calm throughout and you can be when you've got a team that's only conceded 12 goals in the league.

"When you're coming up a side like that and you concede goals the way they have, it's very disappointing.

"Chris Hughton will be disappointed with the way they've gone about this game, but they need to maintain their focus because this is a team that could come very close to promotion."

A special visitor

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho worked with Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka at Real Madrid

News of Guus Hiddink's appointment as Chelsea manager broke during Middlesbrough's victory at Brighton, which was watched by his predecessor at Stamford Bridge - Jose Mourinho.

An agency representing the 52-year-old released a statement earlier on Saturday, which read: "He (Jose) will not be attending any high-profile games because he wants to discourage any speculation about his future."

But Mourinho did take in some Championship action later in the day and he watched Karanka - who was on Mourinho's coaching staff at Real Madrid - lead his side to an emphatic success.

What the managers said

Brighton manager Chris Hughton:

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Hughton on Brighton v Middlesbrough

"Middlesbrough got an early goal and an early lift. We've now conceded four goals from corners in our last three games and that is something that needs to be eradicated.

"But we were up against a very good side and it's very difficult to be too harsh on the players.

"The reaction from our supporters at the end was excellent, and I hope the impact is positive and this defeat is a little bit of a reality check that allows us to get back to winning ways."

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka:

"Jose brought us luck. We worked together at Real Madrid and it was an amazing experience.

"He is a friend of mine. I didn't tell the players that he would be watching but it wasn't a secret.

"Afterwards, he came into the dressing room to offer congratulations. He felt he had watched a really good team and he was impressed with us. He was the best and he will be the best."

Line-ups

Brighton

  • 13Stockdale
  • 2Bruno
  • 3Greer
  • 4HünemeierSubstituted forGoldsonat 60'minutes
  • 14Calderon
  • 27van La Parra
  • 6Stephens
  • 7Kayal
  • 15MurphySubstituted forCroftsat 74'minutes
  • 10HemedSubstituted forZamoraat 74'minutes
  • 21Wilson

Substitutes

  • 1Mäenpää
  • 8Crofts
  • 17Goldson
  • 19Manu
  • 24Ince
  • 25Zamora
  • 28Chicksen

Middlesbrough

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 24NsueSubstituted forKalasat 74'minutes
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 3Friend
  • 8ClaytonSubstituted forZuculiniat 84'minutes
  • 7LeadbitterBooked at 14mins
  • 18Stuani
  • 19Downing
  • 27Adomah
  • 9KikeSubstituted forFabbriniat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Amorebieta
  • 10De Pena
  • 13Mejias
  • 26Kalas
  • 31Fabbrini
  • 34Forshaw
  • 36Zuculini
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
26,445

Match Stats

Home TeamBrightonAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home14
Away10
Shots on Target
Home2
Away6
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home6
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Middlesbrough 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Middlesbrough 3.

Attempt saved. Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by George Friend.

Offside, Middlesbrough. George Friend tries a through ball, but Albert Adomah is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Bruno.

Attempt blocked. Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dale Stephens.

Offside, Middlesbrough. Stewart Downing tries a through ball, but Diego Fabbrini is caught offside.

Foul by Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Bruno Zuculini replaces Adam Clayton.

Foul by Bobby Zamora (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Tomas Kalas (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Rajiv van La Parra (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough).

Attempt blocked. Bobby Zamora (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bruno with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Andrew Crofts replaces Jamie Murphy.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Bobby Zamora replaces Tomer Hemed.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Tomas Kalas replaces Nsue.

Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

Foul by Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. James Wilson (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jamie Murphy with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Diego Fabbrini replaces Kike.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Ben Gibson.

Goal!

Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Middlesbrough 3. Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough) header from the left side of the six yard box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Kike following a corner.

Attempt missed. Kike (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by George Friend following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by David Stockdale.

Attempt missed. Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Connor Goldson replaces Uwe Hünemeier because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Uwe Hünemeier (Brighton and Hove Albion) because of an injury.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Uwe Hünemeier.

Attempt missed. Nsue (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from long range on the right is just a bit too high.

Attempt blocked. Tomer Hemed (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Rajiv van La Parra with a cross.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Dimitrios Konstantopoulos.

Attempt saved. Jamie Murphy (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Íñigo Calderón.

Attempt blocked. James Wilson (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Beram Kayal.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Middlesbrough22144433122146
2Derby22128233132044
3Brighton22111013123843
4Hull22125531161541
5Burnley22108430201038
6Ipswich229763129234
7Birmingham229672723433
8Cardiff228952723433
9Brentford229583432232
10Sheff Wed217952826230
11QPR227872728-129
12Blackburn2161052218428
13Nottm Forest227782221128
14Reading217682725227
15Leeds216872124-326
16Preston2151061717025
17Wolves216782728-125
18Fulham225983639-324
19Huddersfield2256112434-1021
20Bristol City2248102138-1720
21MK Dons2254131830-1219
22Rotherham2253142438-1418
23Charlton2246121938-1918
24Bolton22111101833-1514
View full Championship table

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