PREM: Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton


Middlesbrough's Adama Traore puts Ademola Lookman under pressure

Middlesbrough's struggles in front of goal continued as they drew 0-0 with Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.


Both sides created chances in an entertaining contest at the Riverside, with Victor Valdes denying Romelu Lukaku in the first half and then saving from Ademola Lookman in the 70th minute.

But Boro, the lowest scorers in the top flight and with only 11 goals at home this season, also went close as Ben Gibson saw a header cleared off the line and substitute Rudy Gestede had a powerful late effort tipped over by Joel Robles. Boro remain above the relegation zone while Everton stay seventh, although the draw does dent their top-six aspirations.

It was, based on the balance of play, a fair result. While the Toffees dominated possession in the first half, they were almost caught out on several occasions either on the break or after some hesitant defending.

In fact, for all Everton's passes in the opening 30 minutes, it was Boro who went closest to scoring. Twice passes were cut out in the box before the lively Adama Traore nearly got off a shot after driving through the midfield.

But the visitors should have taken the lead when Bernardo Espinosa passed out of defence to Tom Davies, who sent the ball straight through to Lukaku. After scoring four last weekend, the striker was looking to equal Duncan Ferguson's club record of 60 Premier League goals, but was denied by Valdes.

Everton went close again later in the half as Lookman had a shot saved from a tight angle at the back post and saw another effort blocked moments later. Lookman then fired into the side-netting from 25 yards, but a tactical change at half-time saw Boro take more control of the contest.

Traore switched out to the left flank and, while continuing to threaten going forward, also prevented Seamus Coleman pushing up as much as he did in the first half. Chances were few and far between for Everton, although Lukaku almost provided a tap-in for Ross Barkley, who minutes later curled a shot over the bar.

Boro almost got the breakthrough in the 65th minute when Gibson had a header from a corner cleared off the line, but were then indebted to Valdes for saving well from Lookman after a clever reverse pass from Barkley. The final chance of the match went Boro's way as Robles pulled off a sharp stop to tip over Gestede's powerful header with a couple of minutes remaining.


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