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Middlesbrough ease to emphatic Championship victory at Cardiff
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Finn Azaz netted Middlesbrough’s second goal at Cardiff (Robbie Stephenson/PA)
Finn Azaz netted Middlesbrough’s second goal at Cardiff (Robbie Stephenson/PA)

Middlesbrough lit up a Championship clash with little but pride at stake as they thrashed dismal Cardiff 4-1 in the Welsh capital.

A goal on the stroke of half-time by Boro centre-back Matt Clarke was improved by further second-half strikes via Finn Azaz, Emmanuel Latte Lath and midfielder Alex Gilbert.

Right-wing Josh Bowler pulled a goal back in injury-time for the Bluebirds, but they were still humiliated in their final home match of the season.

Both teams went into this clash with minor improvements in league position the only reward up for grabs.

But only Michael Carrick’s charges played with any rhythm and purpose, with Cardiff serving up the latest in what has been a series of woeful performances in front of their own fans throughout this campaign.

Not since losing to bitter derby rivals Swansea in April 2022, have the Bluebirds gone down 4-0 on home turf. If anything, the damage could have been worse.

The future of Cardiff boss manager Erol Bulut – who has still to be offered a new contract – appears to be just one of a series of big decisions the club will have to make in the coming weeks.

As for Boro, while their failure to mount a meaningful promotion charge has been a disappointment, they at least have far more of a spring in their step after this.

Cardiff were first to go close in the fourth minute when midfielder David Turnbull’s audacious 40-yard chip had to be tipped over by back-pedalling Boro goalkeeper Seny Dieng.

Yet the visitors then created an even more gilt-edged opening in the 10th minute, wasted by Ivorian striker Latte Lath, whose shot from point-blank range was smothered by Cardiff stopper Ethan Horvath.

After a promising start, the game then stagnated. Both sides lacked urgency and intensity, with neat passing triangles yielding little in the way of threat at either end.

Carrick’s men were marginally the more threatening and just as a half-time stalemate beckoned, they broke the deadlock.

It was a soft goal from Cardiff’s perspective, with Boro defender Clarke allowed to side-foot home Azaz’s free-kick via the underside of the crossbar, as blue-shirted players stood and watched.

When Dimitrios Goutas forced Dieng to turn his header onto a post in the 46th minute, it appeared as if a meaningful riposte from the hosts could be brewing.

Instead, almost immediately, Middlesbrough doubled their lead.

Again, dithering in the Cardiff defence allowed a bobbling ball to fall at the feet of Azaz, who flicked an effort over the body of Horvath into the bottom corner of the net.

In the 55th minute, the result was put beyond doubt. A weak challenge by Bowler allowed Latte Lath to latch onto a punt over the Cardiff defence and finish powerfully one-on-one with Horvath.

It was the sign for pockets of empty seats to begin appearing and those home fans who opted to leave early were vindicated on the hour as the visitors claimed a fourth goal.

Former Leeds full-back Luke Ayling got down the right flank and his low cross to the edge of the penalty area was finished emphatically by midfielder Gilbert.

Hundreds of Cardiff fans had left the stadium by the time Bowler had the last word.


ChampionshipCardiff CityMiddlesbrough
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