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The BBC's Ron Jones
"Boro's sixth Premiership game without a win, Villa's eighth without defeat"
 real 28k

Monday, 14 February, 2000, 22:02 GMT
Gazza and Boro self destruct

Gascoigne led with his arm and broke the limb


Middlesbrough 0-4 Aston Villa

Paul Gascoigne broke his arm with a violent challenge as Villa strolled to victory at a depressed Riverside stadium.

A disastrous night for player and team was entirely self-inflicted with Gascoigne's injury reminiscent of the midfielder's infamous 1991 FA Cup final exit.

The former England man was left in tears by his own actions
Middlesbrough were just awful in a defeat which increases the threat of relegation and the pressure on manager Bryan Robson.

And while it is tempting to call it a Valentine's Day Massacre, Boro's own performance was as damaging as anything Villa managed.

Benito Carbone and Julian Joachim made the most of some awful defending to each score twice and boost Villa up to seventh in the table.

Gazza's injuries
May 1991: Ruptured cruciate ligaments with lunge on Gary Charles in FA Cup final
Oct 1991: Cracked kneecap in Newcastle nightclub
Dec 1993: Reported back after Christmas break to Italian club Lazio with thigh strain
Apr 1994: Broke leg in training ground accident
Oct 1998: Admitted to hospital for two weeks with stress and drink problems
Feb 2000: Latest incident at Riverside
Gascoigne was taken to Middlesbrough hospital after leading with his arm when he challenged George Boateng.

Villa's Dutchman was lucky that he was merely dazed while Gascoigne's forearm was broken by his smash into Boateng's head.

The game was delayed for four minutes as the Englishman was stretchered off in tears.

Boro were lucky they were able to use a substitute with referee Alan Wilkie not getting a clear view of Gascoigne's actions.

This was the former England man's first appearance for Boro in two months, in a side missing a number of regulars.

It took Villa only 11 minutes to score, when Festa failed to clear under pressure from Carbone, and Joachim tucked the ball back through to the Italian.

Carbone fires home the first
Carbone had only keeper Marlon Beresford to beat, and did so with a fierce shot from the edge of the area.

Boro's already fragile confidence looked under threat of being shattered, although initially they responded well.

Paul Ince fired wide in the 17th minute after a flowing move involving Juninho, while Gareth Barry prodded Keith O'Neill's left-wing cross just past the post.

But that was as close as the home side came to a goal all night, and the rest of the first half was nondescript until Gascoigne's violent exit.

Key moments
11 mins: Carbone gifted the first
40: Gazza's forearm smash
65: Villa break and Carbone score
70: Joachim taps home
75: Humiliation is complete
Villa restarted the brighter, although a fierce midfield exchange resulted in some home pressure and a couple of testing corners for the visitors' defence.

John Gregory's first substitution provided the home fans with perhaps their best moment of the night, as a clearly-annoyed Paul Merson was replaced by Lee Hendrie.

The former Boro midfielder had been booed on every occasion he touched the ball.


We're leaking goals, we're not scoring goals and we haven't won this year. That speaks volumes for us at the moment
Boro defender Colin Cooper
But the home crowd's delight at his early exit was ruined within minutes as Hendrie set up Carbone to make it 2-0.

Villa broke from a 65th-minute Boro corner, and had four men running at three defenders as the substitute found the Italian's run down the left.

Carbone's shot was deflected by Mark Summerbell into the net, and supporters began to leave the stadium.


Towards the end it was an emphatic victory but I don't want to take anything away from the Villa boys
John Gregory
More were on their way home five minutes later when Joachim tapped the ball into an empty net after Steve Stone's cross-shot.

And within another five minutes the little striker was left alone to head Alan Wright's looping cross into the net.

The atmosphere was more reminiscent of a reserve game than a televised Premiership match.

But some of the few home fans did make some noise before the end, with some clear questions and abuse for manager Robson.

Teams:

Middlesbrough: Beresford, Fleming, Festa, Pallister, Cooper, Gascoigne, Ince, Summerbell, Juninho, Campbell, O'Neill. Subs: Roberts, Gavin, Maddison, Stamp, Armstrong.

Aston Villa:
James, Delaney, Ehiogu, Southgate, Barry, Wright, Merson, Boateng, Stone, Carbone, Joachim. Subs: Taylor, Cutler, Hendrie, Walker, Samuel.

Referee: A Wilkie (Chester Le Street)

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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.