Adama Traore (left) in action at Pride Park as Boro beat Derby
By talkSPORT – @talkSPORT
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Mo Besic scored his first goal in English football as Middlesbrough tightened their grip on a Championship play-off place with a 2-1 win over Derby County at Pride Park.
Besic’s drilled shot after 20 minutes was too powerful for Scott Carson to handle before Britt Assombalonga secured what proved to be the winner with a composed finish with 70 minutes played.
Adama Traore put the ball on a plate for Assombalonga to lash home and the Congolese should have scored another soon after but he missed the target.
David Nugent scored a 92nd-minute penalty after Daniel Ayala hauled Curtis Davies down but it should have been more comfortable for Tony Pulis’ side, who hit the bar twice in quick succession on the hour mark through Jonny Howson and Besic.
The defeat was Derby’s fifth defeat in nine games and leaves them in a desperate fight for a play-off spot as the season comes to a dramatic climax.
STAR MAN – Adama Traore
Besic netted his first goal in English football and could have had a hat-trick but Traore was phenomenal. He got two assists, dominated the game and caused the Derby defence trouble all afternoon. His assist for Assombalonga’s goal epitomised his performance: pace, power and, crucially, purpose.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Assombalonga’s finish was a classy finish. The fantastic Traore made progress down the right and, having shot earlier on when he could have played his team-mate in, slid the ball across for Assombalonga. Rather than just scoring first time, the striker took a touch, cut inside and fired past Carson who had no chance.
WHAT THE FANS ARE SAYING
Derby County XI:: Carson, Forsyth, Keogh, Lawrence, Wisdom, Johnson, Vydra (Palmer), Nugent, Olsson (Weimann), Davies, Huddlestone (Hanson)
Subs not used: Roos, Pearce, Jerome, Ledley
Middlesbrough XI: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Clayton, Besic (Leadbitter), Howson, Traore, Downing (Fabio), Assombalonga
Subs not used: Dimi, Cranie, Fry, Harrison, Johnson
Derby County v CARDIFF CITY (Championship) – Tuesday, April 24
Middlesbrough v MILLWALL (Championship) – Saturday, April 28