Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Smells like Team Spirit

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Smells like Team Spirit

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Bright and early does it!

Boro gained their reward for starting like a house on fire by taking a huge stride towards qualifying from UEFA Cup Group D last night.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink grabbed his first crucial goal of the season after ten minutes of Boro pressure and then Steve McClaren's men survived a second half battering from Grasshoppers to somehow hang on to the victory.

Boro also gained the benefit of a linesman's mistake when Eduardo had a legitimate equaliser ruled out by the offside flag.

The visitors also rode their luck in 45 torrid minutes after the interval as Grasshoppers created and then proceeded to waste a bagful of opportunities.

But Boro never stopped working with Gareth Southgate and Chris Riggott always in the thick of the action, and they completed the job at the end of the day.

With home games to come against Dnipro and Litex Lovech, this win produced three terrific points in the quest to extend the UEFA Cup run into 2006.

Boro also showed their resolve and commitment in bouncing back strongly from the miserable effort against Portsmouth at the Riverside on Saturday.

They were helped in no small measure by the reversion to 4-4-2 with Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka coming in to lead the line.

Grasshoppers did not know how to deal with this pair in the early stages and it was during this spell of Boro superiority that McClaren's men effectively won the game.

They could hardly have started any better with Grasshoppers' keeper Fabio Coltorti diving to keep out a Gaizka Mendieta free kick after only 66 seconds.

Then Boro might have scored in seven minutes when Coltorti did well to keep out an angled drive from Viduka.

The goal Boro deserved came three minutes later following good work by Nemeth and Doriva, who played the ball inside for the unmarked Hasselbaink to pick his spot from 12 yards. …

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