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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Blackburn 0-4 Middlesbrough

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored a hat-trick as Middlesbrough enjoyed a comfortable win over 10-man Blackburn.

Rovers never seriously threatened after Tugay was dismissed on the half-hour mark for picking up a second booking.

Hasselbaink produced a fine finish from Stewart Downing's pass on 46 minutes, before a rare goal from George Boateng.

Hasselbaink sidefooted home the third from another Downing pass in the 57th minute, and scored again in the dying stages as Blackburn went to pieces.

Boro boss Steve McClaren will welcome his side's return to form ahead of their Uefa Cup tie with Aigaleo in midweek.

But a positive result seemed unlikely after a scrappy opening half which saw little in the way of quality football.

The fans did not become animated until Tugay's petulance earned him a deserved red card.

The Turkish international had already been booked for a cynical handball and referee Mike Riley had little hesitation in producing a second yellow when the midfielder clattered into the back of Gaizka Mendieta.

Controlled football was still at a premium, however, and a 38th-minute long-range effort from Downing - which flew way off target - summed up the quality on the pitch.

But the visitors began to make their numerical advantage tell towards half-time, and Stuart Parnaby came close as a powerful shot was parried by Brad Friedel for a corner.

And Blackburn's hopes of holding on evaporated quickly after the break as they conceded three times in 11 minutes.

The first came just 56 seconds after the restart as Hasselbaink, who had produced very little in the first half, latched on to Downing's astute through pass and turned Michael Gray inside out before rifling home left-footed.

Boro's second on 50 minutes came from the unlikeliest of sources.

Boateng had not scored since September 2001, but could barely miss after running on to Mendieta's perfectly-weighted through pass into the box.

Rovers were shell-shocked, although they almost grabbed a lifeline when the Boro defence were caught napping by Youri Djorkaeff, but his six-yard shot was brilliantly parried by Mark Schwarzer.

But that was a rare lapse in a spell of Boro dominance.

Downing came close with a 25-yarder, but Boro did not have to wait long for Hasselbaink to make it three.

The Dutchman coolly sidefooted home in the 57th minute after being picked out by Downing who had broken clear down the right.

The quick triple strike effectively killed the match as a contest, although Boro came close with headers from Boateng and Downing.

Rovers thought they had pulled one back on 74 minutes when Djorkaeff followed up Steven Reid's free-kick to finish, but the Frenchman was ruled offside.

Brett Emerton and Jon Stead also had half-chances for Blackburn, while Szilard Nemeth forced a couple of saves from Friedel late on.

But it was left to Hasselbaink to have the final say in the final seconds as Blackburn's defence lost their shape.

Nemeth won possession and fed the Dutchman who buried the ball in the corner from 18 yards.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Amoruso (Short 63), Matteo, Gray, Emerton, Ferguson, Tugay, Reid, Djorkaeff (Jansen 78), Dickov (Stead 60).
Subs Not Used: Pedersen, Enckelman.

Sent Off: Tugay (30).

Booked: Tugay, Matteo.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, McMahon, Riggott, Southgate, Parnaby (Nemeth 45), Mendieta (Morrison 80), Parlour, Boateng, Zenden, Downing, Hasselbaink.
Subs Not Used: Ehiogu, Bates, Nash.

Booked: McMahon.

Goals: Hasselbaink 46, Boateng 50, Hasselbaink 57, 90.

Att: 20,385

Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

Interview: Middlesborough boss Steve McClaren

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