Middlesbrough face Premier League relegation after Bournemouth loss
Premier League: Middlesbrough lost 0-4 at Bournemouth after playing 70 minutes with just 10 men. Everton and West Ham United play out 0-0 drawfootball Updated: Apr 22, 2017 23:09 IST
Middlesbrough look destined for the Championship next season after falling 4-0 in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Bournemouth in which they played 70 minutes with ten men.
Tributes were paid at the Vitality Stadium to former Middlesbrough favourite Ugo Ehiogu who died Friday aged just 44 years after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Players from both teams wore black armbands and Ehigou’s name was chanted before the game by Boro’s travelling supporters.
But memories of the player who helped the club win the League Cup back in 2004 failed to lift the side who played three quarters of the game with ten men after Gaston Ramirez was sent off.
The visitors were already trailing 2-0 when Ramirez saw red on 20 minutes for two bookable offences -- one for diving followed by a reckless tackle on Marc Pugh.
Joshua King opened the scoring from close range after just two minutes, before Benik Afobe doubled the hosts account on 16 minutes.
Boro’s best chance of the first half was a Marten De Roon shot which Artur Boruc acrobatically saved.
At the other end of the pitch Boro goalkeeper Brad Guzan denied Bournemouth a third after 58 minutes keeping out a soaring Afobe header.
Pugh marked his 250th league appearance for Bournemouth with their third goal after 65 minutes following a Lewis Cook pass and five minutes later a free-kick was laid off to Charlie Daniels for a fourth.
After Bournemouth left them 19th, and nine points from safety, Middlesborough have a mountain to climb.
Caretaker manager Steve Agnew’s side are now nine points from safety with just five games to play -- Sunderland, Manchester City, Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool.
Bournemouth however look set to continue in the Premier League next season as they sit midtable seven points above the drop zone.
Hammers lock door on Lukaku’s Everton
West Ham moved one step closer to safety and Everton moved above Arsenal into sixth place after the two sides played out a 0-0 stalemate at the London Stadium.
Neither side was able to find a way to break the deadlock with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku failing to extend his run of having scored in his nine previous games against the Hammers.
The Premier League leading scorer was not the only player to struggle during a drab game that left both managers frustrated.
Victory for West Ham would have taken them to the 40-point mark while Everton would have moved above Manchester United and into fifth place with a win.
West Ham blew the chance to effectively secure their Premier League future seven days previously when they twice allowed bottom club Sunderland to equalise before claiming a point in a 2-2 draw.
That was the latest disappointment in a dismal run for Slaven Bilic’s side and the manager responded by dropping keeper Darren Randolph, at fault for both Sunderland goals, in favour of Adrian who made his first league appearance since early November.
A lengthy injury list together with suspensions for Mark Noble and Sam Byram meant Bilic was forced into other changes, including drafting in Jonathan Calleri for his first league start since arriving on loan from Deportivo Maldonado last August.
It came as no surprise then, that the home side appeared disjointed and struggled to make an impression on the well-organised visitors.
Adrian in particular looked ring-rusty when he took too long to clear after Edimilson Fernandes directed a throw-in towards his keeper. The Spaniard’s delay allowed Lukaku to block the attempted clearance and Adrian was fortunate to gather the loose ball comfortably.
Lukaku remained isolated up front and starved of quality service with Calleri and Andre Ayew made little impression on the Everton back-line.