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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Saturday, 30 August 2008 17:00 UK

Middlesbrough 2-1 Stoke

By Andrew McKenzie

Tuncay and Alves got the goals for Boro
Tuncay and Alves got Middlesbrough's goals at the Riverside

Middlesbrough's Tuncay struck in the dying stages to deny 10-man Stoke a vital away point at the Riverside.

Stoke had Amdy Faye sent off for a two-footed lunge on Mohamed Shawky and Afonso Alves stroked the subsequent free-kick in off the bar.

Stewart Downing missed a penalty after Seyi Olofinjana fouled Alves, but Justin Hoyte bundled into his own net under pressure from Dave Kitson.

But Boro secured the points when Tuncay poked home from close range.

Middlesbrough's second win of the season made it the club's best start to a Premier League season for nine years.

But it brought back down to earth a Stoke side buoyed by victory over Aston Villa last week.

They had looked like pinching a point despite Boro's total dominance of the second half, until Tuncay was played through in front of goal and kept his head to beat Thomas Sorensen.

Pulis not complaining about sending off

It proved a dramatic finish to a game that came to life after Faye's dismissal at the end of the first half.

In the end it proved to be the turning point as Stoke had been more than a match for the home side until that point.

Faye lunged in to try and win a challenge with Shawky but followed through with both feet and referee Mike Dean had little choice but to issue the red card.

Before manager Tony Pulis had the chance to reorganise his side they were 1-0 down courtesy of a moment of magic from Alves.

From 25 yards out the Brazilian caressed a right-foot shot over the wall and in off the woodwork.

From then on there looked to be only one result as Boro had chance after chance to finish off Pulis's side.

606: DEBATE
borocrizz

Tuncay saw a first-time shot from a Jeremie Aliadiere cross deflected past the post, while Downing whipped a free-kick just past the post.

Alves picked out Tuncay unmarked in the box but he produced a woeful finish which flew over the bar.

It should all have been settled when Alves went down in the box dramatically under the challenge of Olofinjana.

It looked a harsh decision on the visitors, but their fury at Dean's decision settled when Downing's effort rebounded back towards the halfway line off the crossbar.

There looked little danger of Stoke pinching a point until Liam Lawrence broke down the right and sent in a testing cross.

We sneaked through - Southgate

Both Hoyte, making his Premier League debut for Boro following his move from Arsenal, and Kitson went for the ball and it somehow deflected past Ross Turnbull and into the net, with the defender being credited with the goal.

Sorensen saved from Alves to keep them out and it looked set to be a frustrating day for Boro.

Instead, it turned out to be a lesson in the harsh realities of the Premier League for the newcomers as Tuncay made sure the points stayed on Teesside.


Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate:
"In the end we've just had enough to win it. It is the poorest we have played but the points are the important thing for us.

"The way they play they cause you problems and we were a bit off it and didn't pass the ball as well as we should have done.

"We have six points but lots of work to do. We sneaked through when we weren't at our best."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"Mike Dean was closer than anyone else and he's made a good decision. You can't jump into tackles and that's what he has done.

"The tackle has changed the game and in the big decisions Mike has got them all right.

"The players have done fantastically. We don't roll over and die and we'll need that commitment to see us through."


Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Hoyte (Taylor 72), Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, Aliadiere, Shawky (Digard 61), O'Neil, Downing, Alves (Mido 76), Sanli
Subs not used: Steele, Riggott, Emnes, Adam Johnson

Booked: O'Neil, Huth

Goals: Alves 37, Sanli 85

Stoke: Sorensen, Griffin, Cort, Abdoulaye Faye, Dickinson (Wilkinson 67), Lawrence, Olofinjana, Amdy Faye, Delap, Kitson (Cresswell 83), Fuller (Sidibe 74).
Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Whelan, Diao, Buxton.

Sent Off: Amdy Faye (36).

Booked: Griffin, Fuller, Lawrence, Wilkinson.

Goal: Hoyte 71 og.

Att: 27,627

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral)


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Middlesbrough's Afonso Alves (8.00 on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
Saturday's football photos
30 Aug 08 |  Football
Live text - Premier League
30 Aug 08 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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