Middlesbrough and Leicester City played out a low-key 0-0 Premier League draw at the Riverside Stadium that does little to help either side.
Aitor Karanka and Claudio Ranieri both made five alterations to their teams for their second match in 48 hours, but excitement was in short supply, with neither goalkeeper having a save of note to make as Boro’s Gaston Ramirez fired wide from the only opening of note.
The hosts went into the match having lost four of their last five top-flight games and this draw means they now sit just five points above the bottom three, having played a match more than their relegation rivals.
Champions Leicester are only two points and two places better off as their wait for an away win continues – Monday’s point being only their third from 10 matches on the road this season.
Boro have now failed to beat Leicester in 14 league attempts, their worst winless run against any team.
Two of Leicester’s five changes combined for the first chance of the match, Christian Fuchs dragging an effort wide after being found by Andy King.
Riyad Mahrez smashed a free-kick straight into the Boro wall, while King fired another set-piece opportunity straight at goalkeeper Brad Guzan, making his third league start of the campaign due to Victor Valdes’ injury.
Adama Traore had a penalty claim rejected by referee Robert Madley after going down under Robert Huth’s challenge at the other end, before the lively winger’s run and cross led to Marten de Roon firing over.
Leicester saw Mahrez test Guzan with a long-range strike as an uninspiring first half drew to a close, while Ben Gibson’s effort immediately after the break saw Kasper Schmeichel worked for the first time.
George Friend – on for the injured Antonio Barragan – rushed his shot and fired wide after a weaving run into the visitors’ penalty area as Boro briefly improved.
Leonardo Ulloa headed Fuchs’ corner into the arms of Guzan but Leicester were not offering much attacking threat, prompting Ranieri to bring on Ahmed Musa and Demarai Gray for Mahrez and Shinji Okazaki.
But it was Boro who created the game’s best chance in the closing stages when Fabio’s cross from the right was poorly cleared by Wes Morgan and Ramirez lashed his left-footed shot wide from a presentable opening.
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