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Feb 11, 2017 at 3pm UK

Live Commentary: Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton - as it happened

:Headline: Live Commentary: Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton - as it happened:
Relive Sports Mole's text coverage of the Premier League stalemate between Middlesbrough and Everton at the Riverside Stadium.
By , Reporter | 3y

Middlesbrough and Everton have played out a goalless draw in Saturday's Premier League clash at the Riverside Stadium.

Both Boro goalkeeper Victor Valdes and Toffees counterpart Joel Robles were responsible for a number of crucial saves as neither side managed to break the deadlock in Teesside.

Romelu Lukaku came close with a first-half chance that saw him one-on-one with the former Barcelona stopper, who came out on top, while Robles kept out a late Rudy Gestede header.

Here is how the action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text commentary.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League clash between Middlesbrough and Everton at the Riverside Stadium.
The hosts are one of several sides contesting what has to be one of the tightest fights for Premier League survival in years. Just two points separate 15th-placed Boro and bottom side Sunderland.
Above Boro (21 points) you have Bournemouth and Southampton on 26 and 27 points respectively, which is hardly an insurmountable amount for the Teessiders, so the relegation battle is most likely going to go to the wire this season.
As for the visitors, they are in great form, having not lost in the league since before Christmas and boasting five wins and two draws from their last seven, which has put them in seventh place and with a chance of gunning for a European place.
Without further ado, let me bring you the team news for today's clash at the Riverside.
MIDDLESBROUGH STARTING XI: Valdes, Chambers, Bernardo, Gibson, Da Silva, de Roon, Clayton, Forshaw, Traore, Negredo, Stuani
EVERTON STARTING XI: Robles, Coleman, Ashley Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Davies, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Lookman, Lukaku, Barkley
MIDDLESBROUGH SUBS: Ayala, Leadbitter, Guzan, Downing, Ramirez, Guedioura, Gestede
EVERTON SUBS: Jagielka, Kone, Lennon, Barry, Valencia, Stekelenburg, Holgate
Just one change for Boro from their defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last week as Cristhian Stuani starts ahead of Stewart Downing, who drops to the bench. There's a return to the bench for Gaston Ramirez but Patrick Bamford is not in the squad.
Two changes for Ronald Koeman's side, meanwhile, as Gareth Barry drops to the bench and James McCarthy is not included in the squad. Tom Davies and Idrissa Gueye come into the starting XI in their place.
As we mentioned earlier, the relegation battle this season is really tight, with the teams towards the bottom all able to beat higher-ranked sides on their day (witness Hull's win over Liverpool, Leicester's win over Man City late last year and so on). In fact, the bottom four have all claimed at least one win in their last three games (Swansea have two).
However, when it comes to recent form, Boro are suffering. They have not won in the league since mid-December when they put three unanswered goals past Swansea City. Four defeats and three draws later, they sit precariously close to the bottom three and could be dragged into the danger zone if results do not go their way today.
It's very much the opposite with Everton, whose last defeat in the league was in mid-December (the 1-0 defeat against city rivals Liverpool). The Toffees arrive at the Riverside on the back of four wins in their last five league games and striker Romelu Lukaku in absolutely red-hot form.
Good news for Boro as one of their relegation rivals have lost ground in the survival race. Hull City have lost 2-0 at Arsenal, which keeps them in the bottom three on 20 points. You can read Sports Mole's match report here.
Lukaku, who is still just 23, is one goal short of Duncan Ferguson's record of 60 Premier League strikes for Everton. He scored four last weekend - more than Middlesbrough's entire squad have netted since Christmas - to take his tally to 16 in total this season. Boro have a strong defence though - can the Belgium international breach it today?
Here is what today's managers had to say prior to today's fixture, starting with Aitor Karanka: "We realised how difficult the Premier League was that day (when Boro lost to Everton in September) because we competed against Everton in the second half but for 15 minutes in the first half they were much better than us and we couldn't compete. After that game we've improved a lot, it's difficult to score goals and create chances but we're improving a lot, and we're competing against every team. We had a chance to beat Tottenham last week, and we are more mature and more experienced now than then."
Ronald Koeman, meanwhile, discussed the task ahead: "I don't know if there will be any frustration. They are doing well and fighting, which is what everybody was expecting. It's not easy to come from the Championship and stay in the Premier League. They're doing well. Their manager is experienced and has worked with some big coaches in Europe. He has the possibility to show his qualities this year and if I look at Middlesbrough, they're a really well organised team. They're in a position in the table that everybody was expecting. They make it difficult. They only lost 1-0 to Tottenham, which isn't a bad result."
HEAD TO HEAD: Middlesbrough have managed just one win in their last 12 Premier League games against Everton, a run which includes four draws and seven defeats. Goals from Yakubu and Mark Viduka gave Boro a 2-1 victory over the Toffees in October 2006.
The Toffees have kept clean sheets in three of their last four Premier League visits to the Riverside Stadium, winning all three of those games - the other match, however, was a defeat.
In all competitions, Everton are on their best winning run against Boro since December 1931, with four victories in a row. They have never won five consecutively against them.
Romelu Lukaku has scored in both of his previous appearances against Boro for Everton, scoring once in both a 2-0 win in the League Cup last season and a 3-1 Premier League victory earlier this campaign.
SCORE PREDICTION: With just a few minutes until kickoff, it's time for me to have a go at predicting the score today. I reckon Lukaku will continue his rich vein of form and strike again, though Boro will defend stoutly. A 1-0 away win, in my humble opinion.
Both sets of players come out of the tunnel - not long now until we get underway.
KICKOFF! Referee Mike Dean blows the whistle and we're off through Everton man Tom Davies.
Just to give you an idea of Boro's task ahead, they have scored the fewest home league goals this season (11). They have also attempted the fewest shots on target in the league this season (56) and are the only side to have failed to post a shot on target in more than one league game.
All Everton in these early stages as Schneiderlin gets the ball upfield to Barkley on the right, who slips it into the box for Davies, but he can't get it under control.
First sniff of goal for the Toffees as Gueye slides a pass through for Davies, but Valdes comes out promptly to claim the ball just ahead of the youngster.
Some nice interplay between Gueye and Barkley before Fabio slides in and brings down the former in front of the referee to gift Everton a free kick.
Traore, who has been bright in these early stages, picks the ball up on the right side of the box and sends a cross into the area, but Robles catches under no pressure.
Everton give the ball away inside their own half, which allows Forshaw to break forward with Negredo in support, but Funes Mori makes a well-timed sliding tackle to snuff the passage of play out.
Negredo does well to hold the ball up on the right and then thread it through for Forshaw, who has options both to his left and his right but his pass is cut out by Coleman and then cleared by Robles.
The first corner of the game goes to the hosts as Forshaw whips the ball into the box, looking for Gibson, but it is cleared to Stuani on the edge of the box, who fires a shot at goal but blasts well wide.
Traore looks to cut inside and thread a pass into the box but before he can, Davies comes in and steals the ball away.
Lukaku, who has been quite anonymous in these early stages, gets past Gibson on the right side of the box, but slips as he tries to cross and ends up bending the ball behind for a goal kick.
Fabio gets the better of Coleman and breaks down the left before sending a ball into the box towards Negredo and Stuani, but the Everton defence hold tight and clear.
Lookman uses his pace to get into the Boro box and is about to cross to Lukaku, but Traore weighs in with an excellent sliding tackle and wins the ball back for the hosts.
End-to-end stuff at the Riverside as Baines lashes a cross into the box that nearly catches the Boro defence backline unaware but Funes Mori fails to take advantage at the back post, and moments later Negredo stretches for a cross that's nearly turned into the net by a defender.
More impressive play by Traore who beats three Everton players and looks like he's mulling over a shot at goal but lays the ball off to Negredo instead. It then comes back to him in the middle of the box but he and Stuani both go far the ball and get in each other's way.
CHANCE! Boro playing with fire as Bernardo's pass out goes straight to Davies, who plays the ball through to Lukaku and puts him through on goal, but the Everton star striker cannot fire past Valdes!
BOOKING: Clayton is booked for his late foul on Davies after the youngster had threaded a ball through to Lukaku for that earlier chance.
It's quite clear just how isolated Negredo is up front, the space between him and Boro's other attacking players on the pitch is very noticeable.
Coleman skins Stuani on the flank and gets clear down the right before sending a cross into the box, but Lukaku is penalised for a push on Bernardo.
CHANCE! Everton banging on the door as Coleman floats a cross towards Lookman at the far post, whose shot from a tight angle is saved well by Valdes. The visitors try to get the ball in the box once again but Boro hold firm.
We have a brief stoppage in play here as Chambers is down injured after his attempt to block Lookman's shot.
Chambers gets up and continues - for the time being at least - as Lookman attempts a low shot from 25 yards that bundles into the side netting.
Two minutes of time to be added on.
Mike Dean calls time on the first half and it's all square here at the Riverside Stadium between Middlesbrough and Everton, with either side yet to break the deadlock.
So Boro's tight defence has come up trumps in the first 45 in the face of Everton's powerful attack, but both sides had chances to open the scoring. Lookman and Lukaku forced Valdes into making a couple of superb saves to keep the score level, while Negredo, Forshaw, Traore and Stuani all had sniffs of goal against a nervy Toffees defence.
Everton have had the better of possession, with 58 percent compared to 42 percent for Boro, as well as four shots on goal (two on target) compared to the hosts' two shots (one on target). It's very evenly poised with all to play for - can Lukaku and co force the issue, or will Boro hold tight or even claim all three points? Stay with Sports Mole as we'll bring you all the action as it unfolds!
Here are the Premier League half-time scores, plus the result from the early kick-off:

Arsenal 2-0 Hull City
Man Utd 1-0 Watford
Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton
Stoke 0-0 Crystal Palace
Sunderland 0-2 Southampton
West Ham 0-1 West Brom

In terms of the relegation battle, it's Crystal Palace, Hull City and Sunderland in the bottom three as things stand. A lot can change in the next 45 minutes though, and then we have the remaining fixtures of the weekend.
KICKOFF: No changes at the break and we are back underway.
Boro win a corner and Gibson connects with the inswinging ball in the middle of the box but can't get any power on his header and it's cleared by Coleman.
CHANCE! Traore has impressed for Boro today and he's at it again as he collects the ball, beats his marker, goes past a number of defenders and opts for a shot from distance, but it bounces wide.
Another driving run from Traore forces Coleman into making a rash challenge on the edge of the box and Boro have a free kick in a dangerous position.
Forshaw sends a ball into the box to De Roon, who heads it back across to Stuani, but the spell of pressure ends with Robles catching the forward's tame header.
Boro have made the brighter start in the second half and Everton are yet to really do much with the ball, but a chance goes amiss for the hosts as Negredo slides his pass straight through the middle to Robles when he had options on both the left and the right.
The Riverside has only seen 25 goals this season - will we get a 26th today? Neither side seems to be doing the business in the final third, in all fairness.
SUBSTITUTION: The first change of the match is from Boro, and sees Forshaw make way for Guedioura to make his debut.
CHANCE! For all of Boro's pressure, Everton come ever so close to opening the scoring as Gueye claims the ball in midfield and plays it through for Lukaku, who in turn looks to find Barkley right in front of goal, but it's cleared before it gets to him.
Clayton, who has already been booked, goes sliding in from behind on Davies, but the referee opts not to get his cards out again.
SUBSTITUTION: An attacking change for Everton as Gueye is replaced by Valencia.
CHANCE! Almost a catastrophe for Everton as Baines gets penalised for a foul throw, Funes Mori gives away a corner with a poor clearance, and Gibson thumps a header towards goal from the set piece which Baines has to clear off the line!
SUBSTITUTION: Another switch from Boro and it's Ramirez on in place of Stuani.
Ramirez fouls Lookman on the left side of the area to give away a free kick, but Barkley slams the ball straight into the wall.
CHANCE! Everton close to opening the scoring but Valdes pulls off another great save as he keeps out Lookman's effort after Barkley's reverse pass to feet.
Bernardo's pass to Gibson is nearly cut out by Lukaku, who would've been through on goal, but the Boro skipper just about manages to get onto the ball and keep hold of it. Danger averted.
SUBSTITUTION: One for Everton as Lookman is replaced by Lennon.
Ramirez drops his shoulder to evade his marker and then marauds towards the box before attempting to lift the ball into the path of Negredo, but it's too heavy and sails over the Spaniard's head.
The game seems to have petered out somewhat, with neither side able to make the most of when they have possession. A goalless draw is looking like the likeliest result now, barring a moment of magic (or madness).
CHANCE! Negredo almost gets his head to the ball after a curled cross into the box by Traore, but the ball ultimately bounces out of play.
SUBSTITUTION: That was Negredo's last contribution today, as Gestede comes on in his place.
Guedioura finds himself in space about 25 yards out and opts to go for goal, but he fires his shot well over the bar.
BOOKING: Ramirez steps on Baines as he slides in to win the ball, and earns himself a yellow card for his troubles.
SUBSTITUTION: Barkley comes off in place of Barry for Everton.
CHANCE! Valdes has been heroic for Boro today but Robles now gets praise for a great save, tipping over a powerful header from Gestede from 12 yards out.
Three minutes of stoppage time here at the Riverside.
So it ends all square here at the Riverside Stadium, and it's very much a case of as you were. Middlesbrough's wait for a first Premier League win since mid-December continues, while Everton remain unbeaten in the top flight since their defeat against Liverpool in mid-December. Boro remain 15th, the Toffees remain seventh.
That's all we have time for but stay with Sports Mole as we have match reports, reaction and all the latest news from the day's action coming up! Thank you for following and, until next time, goodbye!

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