Alvaro Negredo’s first-half double helped Middlesbrough to a 3-0 win over Swansea City in Saturday’s Premier League encounter at the Riverside Stadium.
The Spanish striker had scored just three times in his previous 15 league outings this term, but took his tally for 2016-17 to five with a sublime finish on the turn and a converted penalty.
Marten de Roon put the match to bed early in the second half when he tapped home from close range.
Back-to-back defeats had seen Aitor Karanka’s men drop to 17th place in the table heading into the game, a mere three points clear of the drop zone, but they find themselves in mid-table safety again following this impressive victory.
It was not all good news for Middlesbrough, however, as they lost Viktor Fischer to an apparent knee injury early on.
Swansea, meanwhile, have dropped to 19th place in the table once more following their 11th defeat of the season, having collected just 12 points from 17 games.
Bob Bradley’s side started the match with attacking intentions and got their first opportunity when Gylfi Sigurdsson tested goalkeeper Victor Valdes with a powerful strike from 25 yards out.
Middlesbrough slowly grew into the game from there on and Negredo handed the home side the lead in the 18th minute, leaving Lukasz Fabianski no chance with a fine left-footed finish on the turn after Adam Clayton made progress down the left.
Things went from bad to worse for Swansea at the half-hour mark when Negredo doubled his side’s lead from the spot.
Jordi Amat clumsily brought down Adam Forshaw inside the area, leaving referee Neil Swarbrick no choice but to award Middlesbrough a penalty and Negredo sent Fabianski the wrong way from 12 yards.
Swansea went in search of a goal early in the second, but looked toothless in attack as they struggled to reach Fernando Llorente.
3 – Middlesbrough have scored three goals in a Premier League game for the first time since April 2009 against Hull. Buoyant.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 17, 2016
Middlesbrough had considerably less trouble finding their dangermen and it was De Roon who made it three in the 58th minute with an easy finish after a fine cross from Gaston Ramirez.
Bradley brought on Leroy Fer for captain Leon Britton as the visitors went in search of a way back in, but Swansea’s top scorer could not trouble the Boro defence as it ended 3-0.
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