Middlesbrough 3-1 Brentford: Stuani brace adds to Bees' woes
Albert Adomah scores Middlesbrough's third goal against Brentford - image via @Boro

Middlesbrough continued their good early-season form with a 3-1 victory over last season's defeated play-off semi-finalists Brentford at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday night.

Former Espanyol forward Cristhian Stuani scored either side of Lasse Vibe's equaliser which came from a defensive mix-up at the back.

Then, just over a quarter of an hour into his first appearance since submitting a transfer request at the end of the transfer window, Albert Adomah added a late third after good work from the tireless David Nugent.

Few clear-cut chances in the first half

The first half of the game wasn't full of chances by any means, but the better opportunities were forged by the home side in the opening period.

Stuani delivered an excellent ball from the right which somehow managed to evade three Boro attackers lurking with intent inside the area, while Alan McCormack wasted one of the Bees' best opportunities of the opening period after latching onto a through ball.

Stewart Downing fired a free kick against the side netting while Daniel Ayala needed to make a good challenge to deny Marco Djuricin, but it took just over half an hour for the first goal of the night.

Stuani opens the scoring

Emilio Nsue did well to keep the ball in on the right flank and drive forward before finding Diego Fabbrini, who squared the ball for Uruguay international Stuani to clip a cute first-time finish across goal and in off the far post.

Soon after, the home side thought they had a second as Nugent finished with aplomb, but the linesman's flag was already up and the move was pulled back for offside. With the half drawing to a close, Djuricin dragged a shot wide for the visitors when he perhaps should have found the net after turning well inside the penalty area.

At half time, Middlesbrough were up to second in the Championship table, but it took less than five minutes of the second half for Brentford to peg them back.

Vibe levels for Brentford, Boro hit back

The goal came almost totally out of the blue in a disastrous mix-up at the back as the ball deflected off Ayala and back towards Dimi Konstantopoulos between the posts. The goalkeeper, apparently unsure whether or not he could handle the ball, hesitated and presented the ball to summer signing Vibe, who was presented with a simple finish.

Ten minutes later came a potentially hugely significant moment in the Championship season as Adomah, left out in the cold recently by Aitor Karanka after a transfer request from the player was ignored, was introduced to the fray to replace Fabbrini with half an hour to play.

In the short term, the change proved decisive as the Ghana winger played a huge role in creating Boro's second goal. Nsue was involved in the build-up again but it was left to Adomah to deliver the final ball for Stuani to turn in his seventh goal of the season from close range.

Almost immediately after, however, Brentford should have been level. The Bees went on the attack straight from kickoff and goalscorer Vibe delivered a pinpoint cross towards Djuricin, but the Austrian striker somehow contrived to lift the ball over the target when well-placed to finish. 

Marinus Dijkhuizen's side were playing some good football at times despite a frustrating start to the season, and Konstantopoulos was called upon to make up for his earlier error with some good work to deny midfielder Konstantin Kerschbaumer as he looked to run clear on goal.

Adomah adds a late third

With little over ten minutes to play, however, Adomah had well and truly stamped his mark on the game as he added Boro's third. Nugent powered forward and fed the electric winger to thump home the finish, but his celebration was perhaps the moment of the night as, fallings-out seemingly forgotten, he went to embrace his delighted manager.

From there, the result wasn't in doubt, though Kerschbaumer and Vibe had efforts blocked and off target respectively in stoppage time.

The result leaves Middlesbrough in the automatic promotion places for the first time this season with the healthiest goal difference in the league, but Brentford's struggles continue as they slump down to just one place above the relegation zone.