Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough: Boro deservedly dumped out of EFL Cup
Brad Guzan denies Cauley Woodrow from close range in the first half | Photo: Fulham FC

Middlesbrough have been eliminated from the newly re-branded EFL Cup after a deserved defeat at Championship side Fulham.

Boro looked to be in control after an early goal from David Nugent, but Scott Malone's second-half strike took the tie to extra time.

Lasse Vigen Christensen then converted Malone's cross in the second period of extra time to send the Cottagers through to the third round.

It came as something of a surprise when Jordan Rhodes started from the bench, but Boro fans were welcomed by the news that FabioAlex Baptiste and Viktor Fischer would make their first competitive starts for the club with six changes in total.

Nugent heads Boro into early lead

Fabio, the Brazilian full-back signed from Cardiff City, did not have to wait long to make his first impact. With rain hammering down and lightning flickering around Craven Cottage, he delivered an excellent ball from the left for Nugent to rise highest at the far post and nod in his first goal of the season.

However, Fabio was withdrawn almost immediately after due to an injury, apparently sustained during the assist of Nugent's goal.

Despite going behind early on, Fulham settled into the game fairly well and saw a lot of the ball. They moved it around well in midfield but rarely threatened Boro's back four with the midfield pair of Adam Clayton and Julien de Sart proving a fine shield in front of the defence.

When the home side threatened, it was generally due to Middlesbrough mistakes. Brad Guzan's poor clearance was siezed upon by Cauley Woodrow but the forward was caught by Clayton, before the American made a fine point-blank save from the same forward.

It was a first half of attacking intent from the home side but resilience from the away, and few clear chances as a result.

Malone punishes sluggish Boro

However, the Cottagers kept up their pressure early in the second half and soon found themselves deservedly level thanks to Malone's goal.

Ryan Tunnicliffe escaped down the left and drove inside well before feeding the left-back inside the area who finished at the second attempt after Guzan's initial save.

The home side continuted to threaten, particularly from wide areas, with Adetayo Edun denied from a particularly impressive block on the goalline from George Friend.

Boro go close but Fulham strike

Late in the 90, Stewart Downing just cleared the crossbar with a free kick at the edge of the area. Dennis Adeniran was perhaps fortunate not to see a second yellow after bringing down the former England man, who would otherwise have had a goalscoring opportunity.

Boro came even closer just into stoppage time at the end of the game with another header, but this time he could only find the top of the crossbar this time around.

Into extra time, Fulham's threat transformed with the introduction of target man Matt Smith, but it was Sean Kavanagh who went closest in the first period as his effort was cleared off the line by Ben Gibson.

However, late in the game, Fulham had their winner as substitute Luca De La Torre ran at the defence and fed Malone to cross for Christensen to convert for close range.

A poor performance from Middlesbrough, injuries to Fabio and Friend and a further layer of intrigue added to the Rhodes saga; Aitor Karanka will be hoping this defeat will be nothing more than a blip rather than a damaging blow to his side's early-season momentum.