Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton

Joel Robles



Everton keeper Joel Robles made a fantastic save to deny Rudy Gestede late on and secure a draw

Everton extended their unbeaten Premier League run to eight games but failed to score for the first time in that streak against a resolute Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

Romelu Lukaku went closest for the visitors in the first half but saw his low effort superbly saved by Boro keeper Victor Valdes.

After the interval, Boro captain Ben Gibson’s header was cleared off the line by Leighton Baines, before Valdes made another excellent stop to deny Ademola Lookman.

Everton keeper Joel Robles then produced a stunning save from substitute Rudy Gestede’s effort late on.

A draw means the hosts are still without victory this year, having now gone eight Premier League matches without a win.

A tale of two keepers

Lukaku was looking to join, or even surpass, Duncan Ferguson as Everton’s record Premier League goalscorer, but the Belgium striker endured a frustrating game against an organised Boro defence and Valdes in particular.

The record seemed certain to fall when he was slid in on goal by Tom Davies on 30 minutes, but Valdes guessed correctly, shifting to his left to make a fine save with his legs and in the process set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Spaniard was called on again just before the break as he stood tall at the back post to deny Lookman from Seamus Coleman’s cross. The 19-year-old Everton forward will feel he should have scored on 68 minutes when put through by Ross Barkley, but he was denied by Valdes’ legs once more.

At that stage it seemed Valdes’ exploits would secure a well-earned draw for Aitor Karanka’s side, yet it will be their Spanish compatriot Robles who draws the most acclaim from this otherwise unremarkable match.

With just three of the 90 minutes remaining, Calum Chambers curled in an excellent cross from the right which found Gestede, who rose to power his header just under the bar, but the Toffees keeper arched back to make an outstanding save with his left hand to tip it over and maintain Everton’s unbeaten run.

Boro’s blueprint

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Karanka buoyed by Boro display

Ahead of this tie, Everton had scored 19 times in their past seven Premier League matches – as many goals as Middlesbrough have scored all season.

That failure to increase their attacking return, despite buying two strikers in January, remains a huge concern, but this draw exemplified the manner in which Karanka will hope to guide his side to safety this season.

Their defence, well-drilled by the impressive Gibson, remain miserly, having conceded only 27 times this season – the same amount as seventh-placed Everton and comfortably fewer than the rest of the teams in the bottom six.

Yet the home side also showed glimpses of more enterprising play and could not be accused of simply holding on for a draw as they continued to drive at a retreating Everton in the final 10 minutes.

Both then and throughout the game, that impetus came from Adama Traore, a player of tremendous potential, who frequently induced panic in the Everton defence with his pace and close-control.

The 21-year-old winger is still wasteful when crossing but if he can offer a more consistent final ball while retaining his other qualities, Boro have a player capable of making a difference in key games as they look to stay clear of the drop.

Man of the match – Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough)

Victor Valdes<!–

Joel Robles may have made the more eye-catching save, while Adama Traore also sparkled, but Boro keeper Victor Valdes was excellent throughout, denying Everton three times

Boro’s 11th goalless game this season – match stats

  • Ronald Koeman is unbeaten in eight Premier League games for the first time at a single club (was unbeaten in 11 in September 2016 with a combination of Southampton and Everton).
  • Middlesbrough have managed to score just 11 goals at home in the top-flight this season, a league-low haul.
  • Middlesbrough are without a victory in their last eight Premier League games (D4 L4), their longest winless run in the competition since February 2009 under Gareth Southgate (14 games).
  • Aitor Karanka’s side have failed to find the back of the net in 11 Premier League games this season; only Hull have misfired in more (12).
  • Only three sides have conceded fewer goals in the Premier League this season than Middlesbrough and Everton (27 each) – Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.
  • The Toffees have kept clean sheets in four of their last five Premier League visits to the Riverside Stadium, winning three and drawing one those games (L1).

‘We can beat our relegation rivals’ – manager reaction

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka: “It was a really good result and we’ve played really well against a very good team in really good form.

“The crowd once again has been amazing and I just want to tell them to keep encouraging these players, because they deserve everything.

“We are competing well against really good teams and if we play this way against teams who are fighting like us, then we can beat them.”

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Everton clean sheet really positive – Koeman

Everton boss Ronald Koeman: “A draw is a fair result – we had the best chances in the game but they had a good header at the end.

“It was difficult to create because they have really good defensive organisation and they were a bit more aggressive to try to score after the second half though we were in control.

“A clean sheet is really positive – every one means at least one point and we usually create.”

What’s next?

Middlesbrough host Oxford United in the FA Cup fifth round on 18 February (kick-off 15:00 GMT), before they travel to fellow strugglers Crystal Palace in the Premier League on 25 February (15:00 GMT). Everton have a break before they host Sunderland at Goodison Park on 25 February (also 15:00 GMT).

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Everton 0.

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Everton 0.

Attempt missed. Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gareth Barry with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Ben Gibson.

Seamus Coleman (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough).

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Joel Robles.

Attempt saved. Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Calum Chambers with a cross.

Substitution, Everton. Gareth Barry replaces Ross Barkley.

Foul by Enner Valencia (Everton).

Fabio (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Leighton Baines (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough).

Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Gastón Ramírez.

Foul by Enner Valencia (Everton).

Bernardo (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Rudy Gestede replaces Álvaro Negredo.

Substitution, Everton. Aaron Lennon replaces Ademola Lookman.

Seamus Coleman (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Adama Traoré.

Attempt saved. Ademola Lookman (Everton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ross Barkley with a through ball.

Ademola Lookman (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough).

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Gastón Ramírez replaces Cristhian Stuani.

Attempt blocked. Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adlène Guédioura with a cross.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Ramiro Funes Mori.

Enner Valencia (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Ross Barkley (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Leighton Baines.

Substitution, Everton. Enner Valencia replaces Idrissa Gueye.

Tom Davies (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

Leighton Baines (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough).

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adlène Guédioura replaces Adam Forshaw.

Idrissa Gueye (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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