Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Race out of the Blocks to Climb Back to Top Spot; Stuani Strikes Early for Teessiders MIDDLESBROUGH 1 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 0

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boro Race out of the Blocks to Climb Back to Top Spot; Stuani Strikes Early for Teessiders MIDDLESBROUGH 1 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 0

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers

AITOR Karanka's clean sheet kings went back to the top of the Championship with a hard-fought win over Sheffield Wednesday.

Cristhian Stuani scored the crucial goal after just 43 seconds, and in a blistering opening period Middlesbrough could have ended the game as a contest.

However the Teessiders' rigid rearguard had to dig deep as Wednesday fought back after the break. But they held on for an eighth successive league clean sheet at home.

Goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos - who barely had a save to make - thereby equalled the record set by Steve Pears in 1986-87 as Bruce Rioch's side roared to promotion from the old Division Three.

The goal came when Stewart Downing controlled a ball down the inside left channel and played it to Stuani, whose scruffy snapshot from 12 yards deflected into the net.

Boro almost had a second two minutes later. A crisp passing move carved open the Wednesday defence and Emilio Nsue cut in from the right to send a close-range effort just over the bar.

Boro went close again on 16 minutes. George Friend swung in the ball, Grant Leadbitter chested it on and Stuani headed goalwards, but it was straight at keeper Joe Wildsmith.

Downing then played a sublime ball through a a crowded box to the far post where Friend failed to connect.

Wednesday started to make a few forays forward but Boro quickly regained the initiative and again pressed deep into the Owls' half. The Teessiders made three promising passing raids that cut to the edge of the box although the final ball went astray.

After a cagey start to the second half Wednesday showed first on 51 minutes. Lively substitute Fernando Forestieri wriggled to the edge of the box before his shot was blocked by Ben Gibson and deflected behind for a corner. …

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