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Middlesbrough snatch late equaliser to dent Southampton promotion bid

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Mar 2024

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Emmanuel Latte Lath’s 90th-minute equaliser saved a 1-1 draw for Middlesbrough to puncture Southampton’s Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion ambitions.

Adam Armstrong had seemingly fired Saints towards a 23rd victory of the season with his 30th goal contribution in the Championship this season – more than any other player.

But Ivorian Latte Lath nodded in his 10th goal of the campaign late on to extend Boro’s unbeaten run to five matches.

Saints ended their 20-day break since their last game with a goal inside 12 minutes.

Kamaldeen Sulemana lifted a ball from the left side into the box and it should have been dealt with by makeshift centre-back Jonny Howson – who was forced to fill in at the back with Boro contending with 11 injuries, six of them to defenders.

Howson sliced his attempted clearance to Armstrong, who settled himself before using his composure to slot into the bottom corner for his 19th goal of the season.

Armstrong almost pilfered his 20th two minutes later but his fierce effort was deflected just over.

Boro grew into the half and struck the post in the 28th minute with their first shot of the afternoon. Kyle Walker-Peters had given the ball away in midfield before Finn Azaz rattled the base of the upright.

Isaiah Jones could not find a stretching Latte Lath while Sulemana blazed over to end a first half that promised more.

The second period started like a runaway train as Gavin Bazunu stood strong to deny Latte Lath at one end before Che Adams pounced on Seny Dieng’s parry to put the ball into the net at the other before the flag went up for offside.

Adams then had two gilt-edged chances in two minutes to double Southampton’s lead.

The Scotland international was dinked through by Taylor Harwood-Bellis but took so long to settle himself Dieng had time to position himself to save the eventual shot in the box, then Adams was able to control and turn seven yards out when unmarked but somehow missed the target.

Armstrong was brilliantly denied from close range by Nieng before his follow-up was blocked on the line by Lukas Engel.

Ryan Fraser had a shot parried before Will Smallbone shinned the rebound over as Saints were made to pay for their wastefulness in the dying embers.

Alex Gilbert’s cross from the right was met by Latte Lath, who craned his neck to divert into the bottom corner.

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