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Middlesbrough 0-1 Leeds United: Mateusz Klich strike keeps pressure on Championship leaders West Brom

Mateusz Klich scores for Leeds against Middlesbrough
Mateusz Klich's first-half goal was his third in two games against Boro this season but just the Pole's fifth in a total of 37 club appearances

Leeds United moved back to within four points of Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion as Mateusz Klich's strike earned victory over lowly Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

Klich guided a fine shot in off the far post in first-half injury time moments after Pablo Hernandez's low effort came back off the upright.

Boro, who have now lost three in a row and are winless in nine league games since beating Preston North End on New Year's Day, showed decent resolve and had their moments, the best of which saw Marcus Tavernier's curled shot hit the top of the bar after the break.

But Leeds showed the greater fluency and quality in an often frenetic match and created the better chances throughout, with Patrick Bamford, Stuart Dallas and Hernandez all denied by impressive Boro keeper Aynsley Pears on United's way to a third consecutive win.

As impressive as Pears was, Leeds should have added to their goal tally in a victory which sees them remain five points ahead of Fulham, who moved back up to third with a dramatic late win over Swansea City.

Bamford was involved in nearly all of Leeds' best opportunities and he should have put them ahead despite a promising start by the hosts.

The former Boro striker headed meekly at Pears from Luke Ayling's cross, but was unlucky with a clever near-post flicked effort that went just wide soon after and also forced Pears to make another save from a well-struck shot.

Boro matched their opponents' tempo but struggled to find clear openings, although one lovely move almost created a one-on-one chance for Ashley Fletcher, who did manage to tee up Lewis Wing for a shot that went just wide.

The game's decisive moment came seconds after the first 45 minutes were up when Leeds broke and worked the ball to Bamford. His composure set up Hernandez and the Spaniard remained calm after seeing his shot hit the post to eventually find Klich for a tidy finish from the edge of the box.

The second-half response by Jonathan Woodgate's side was admirable, with midfielder George Saville's stinging shot forcing a brilliant save from keeper Kiko Casilla and Tavernier bending a shot on to the bar after great approach play and a fine lay-off by Hayden Coulson.

But Leeds, even without the influential Kalvin Phillips, always looked the more potent in attack and although Boro remain one place outside the relegation zone, defeat means they are now level on points with third from bottom Wigan Athletic who beat Reading 3-0.

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate told BBC Tees:

"It was a lot better than the last two games, that's for sure. I thought we matched them for large parts and if we play with that intensity, we'll pick up a lot more wins.

"I'm very disappointed with the goal. Twenty seconds of the first half left - we shouldn't be playing square passes.

"You see the game out and go in 0-0. Leeds can be lethal at times, but we need to do better with that.

"The composure on the ball, the final pass wasn't good enough at times. We were pressing and chasing them down but when you get into possession you need to be cooler."

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa:

"The team fought a lot and were very aggressive. We attacked better in the first than second half.

"The team protected the result. We played well in different moments of the match. The team didn't lose their calm and fought. In general we managed the situations well.

"Maybe in some moments in the second half Middlesbrough created some problems but in general we had three more chances than them. There was a lot of fight in the match.

"We resolved well the absence of Kalvin Phillips. We were compact and tough to play."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 42Pears
  • 16Howson
  • 5Shotton
  • 18MoukoudiBooked at 82mins
  • 3FriendSubstituted forJohnsonat 63'minutes
  • 8ClaytonBooked at 90mins
  • 22SavilleBooked at 10minsSubstituted forNmechaat 67'minutes
  • 7Tavernier
  • 26Wing
  • 33Coulson
  • 11FletcherSubstituted forAssombalongaat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mejias
  • 9Assombalonga
  • 15Morrison
  • 17McNair
  • 20Nmecha
  • 21Johnson
  • 29Spence

Leeds

  • 13Casilla
  • 2Ayling
  • 28Berardi
  • 6Cooper
  • 15Dallas
  • 5White
  • 17Hélder Costa
  • 43Klich
  • 19HernándezSubstituted forShackletonat 73'minutes
  • 22Harrison
  • 9Bamford

Substitutes

  • 1Meslier
  • 3Douglas
  • 10Alioski
  • 11Roberts
  • 46Shackleton
  • 48Stevens
  • 49Casey
Referee:
Gavin Ward
Attendance:
24,647

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamLeeds
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home14
Away12
Shots on Target
Home2
Away8
Corners
Home3
Away6
Fouls
Home14
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Leeds United 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Leeds United 1.

Foul by Patrick Bamford (Leeds United).

Ryan Shotton (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Mateusz Klich following a corner.

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Marvin Johnson.

Foul by Stuart Dallas (Leeds United).

Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jack Harrison (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

Attempt saved. Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lukas Nmecha.

Attempt blocked. Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Jamie Shackleton (Leeds United).

Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Leeds United. Gaetano Berardi tries a through ball, but Patrick Bamford is caught offside.

Booking

Harold Moukoudi (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Hélder Costa (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Harold Moukoudi (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Stuart Dallas following a fast break.

Liam Cooper (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough).

Attempt blocked. Lukas Nmecha (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Britt Assombalonga.

Luke Ayling (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough).

Foul by Jamie Shackleton (Leeds United).

Marvin Johnson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).

Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Jamie Shackleton replaces Pablo Hernández.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Britt Assombalonga replaces Ashley Fletcher because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Marvin Johnson (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ashley Fletcher.

Attempt blocked. Harold Moukoudi (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Wing with a cross.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Stuart Dallas.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Shotton (Middlesbrough) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Wing with a cross.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Hélder Costa.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Lukas Nmecha replaces George Saville.

Attempt saved. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the bottom right corner.

Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Hayden Coulson.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Marvin Johnson replaces George Friend.

Offside, Leeds United. Kiko Casilla tries a through ball, but Patrick Bamford is caught offside.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom351912464362869
2Leeds35198850302065
3Fulham35179949371260
4Nottm Forest351611846331359
5Brentford351681157312656
6Preston35168114940956
7Bristol City35158124951-253
8Blackburn3514101150401052
9Swansea351312104443151
10Millwall35121494039150
11Cardiff35121494848050
12Sheff Wed35139134541448
13QPR35137155359-646
14Birmingham351210134552-746
15Derby351112124348-545
16Reading35119154141042
17Hull35118164854-641
18Charlton35109164449-539
19Huddersfield35109164156-1539
20Stoke35115194353-1038
21Middlesbrough35813143445-1137
22Wigan35910163750-1337
23Barnsley35810174258-1634
24Luton35103224270-2833
View full Championship table

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