Thursday, May 23, 2024

Hull and Middlesbrough’s play-off hopes hit after draw

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Apr 2024

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Finn Azaz’s deflected second-half goal helped Middlesbrough claim a 2-2 draw at Hull but a point apiece does little to boost either side’s Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes.

Emmanuel Latte Lath followed up a brace in Boro’s 2-0 win over Swansea on Saturday with an early goal at the MKM Stadium but Jaden Philogene’s cross-cum-shot drew Hull level just before the half hour.

Middlesbrough goalkeeper Seny Dieng played Lewis O’Brien into trouble which allowed Jean Michael Seri to put the Tigers deservedly in the lead ahead of half-time but Azaz had the final say, albeit after his strike took a crucial final touch off Alfie Jones before nestling in the goal.

Both teams sit six points adrift of sixth-placed Norwich with Middlesbrough in ninth, one place ahead of Hull, who have a game in hand over their two rivals.

This was a missed opportunity for both sides, even if Middlesbrough extended their unbeaten run to eight matches and it was the visitors who stormed out of the traps after kick-off was delayed by a quarter of an hour due to heavy traffic in the area.

Hull’s defenders were caught on their heels and paid their price as Latte Lath bagged his sixth goal in his last eight matches.

Having taken six minutes to score in the reverse fixture, which Boro lost 2-1 in December, Latte Lath needed just four this time after stealing in behind a high line and steering beyond Ryan Allsop from an acute angle.

Hull gradually warmed to their task and were unfortunate Abdus Omur slipped at the vital moment in front of goal as his miskick sailed wide while Jacob Greaves’ header was clawed away by Dieng as Middlesbrough were hemmed into their own half.

Hull’s persistence was rewarded as the influential Philogene delivered a teasing ball that seemed to elude Ozan Tufan at the back post before sailing into the net.

While Hull awarded the 29th-minute goal to a celebrating Tufan, it was officially given to Philogene.

Luke Ayling headed off his line following Omur’s chip as Hull continued to pour forward but they were given a helping hand four minutes before half-time.

Dieng’s attempt to play out from the back backfired spectacularly as Seri nudged O’Brien off the ball on the edge of his own area before lashing into the top corner.

Despite being outplayed for most of the first half, Middlesbrough might have drawn level at the start of the second as Jonny Howson’s thunderous effort was palmed by Allsop into the path of Latte Lath, who got into a tangle and could not slot in the rebound.

Howson at the other end made a desperate intervention to block Seri’s goal-bound effort while Regan Slater drilled across the face of goal and wide as Hull looked to give themselves some breathing room.

Their inability to do so came back to haunt them as they were hit on the break in the 71st minute.

Azaz exchanged passes with Isaiah Jones before bearing down on goal and his shot ricocheted off Jones and over Allsop as Middlesbrough drew level.

Omur might have nicked victory for Hull in the closing stages after springing the offside trap and going clean through but he was denied by the legs of Dieng.

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