1-0, min.18, Negredo. 2-0, min 29, Negredo. 3-0, min. 58, De Roon.
Middlesbrough 3-0 Swansea City: Negredo double fires Boro to victory over Swans

Middlesbrough 3-0 Swansea City: Negredo double fires Boro to victory over Swans

The Spanish striker scored twice as Boro gave themselves breathing space away from the bottom three.

Joe Nicholson
MiddlesbroughValdes; Barragan, Gibson, Chambers, Fabio(Traore, min.87); De Roon, Forshaw, Clayton; Fischer (Downing, min.10), Ramirez (Friend, min.62), Negredo.
Swansea CityFabianski; Rangel, Amat, Mawson, Taylor; Fulton, Britton (Fer, min.70); Routledge (Montero, min.76), Barrow (Baston, min.59), Sigurdsson, Llorente.
REFEREENeil Swarbrick. Booked: None.

Alvaro Negredo’s double gave Middlesbrough a much-needed victory at the Riverside, as struggling Swansea City were plunged deeper into the relegation zone.

The Spanish striker scored twice inside the first half an hour to register his first brace at the Riverside since his move to Teesside in the summer. Marten De Roon added a third mid-way through the second half, as Aitor Karanka’s side eased relegation fears ahead of a busy Christmas fixture list.

For Swansea, this was their fifth away defeat out of six games on the road under new manager Bob Bradley and they have now conceded 18 goals in the last six games away from the Liberty Stadium. It was clear to see why, as Boro took advantage of their opponent’s porous backline to score three times for the first time this season.

Team news

Aitor Karanka made one change to the Boro side which lost 3-0 to Liverpool on Wednesday night. Gaston Ramirez was passed fit to play after missing the last two games with a toe injury, the Uruguayan replaced Adama Traore who dropped to the bench.

Swansea manager Bob Bradley also made just one alteration from mid-week, when his side were beaten 3-1 away at West Brom. It came on the left-hand-side, as Modou Barrow came in for Jefferson Montero.

Boro shake off some early nerves

It was the visitors who started the brighter, and registered the first shot on target when Gylfi Sigurdsson found space on the edge of the penalty area before stinging the palms of Victor Valdes with a dipping effort.

Boro responded minutes later when Ramirez chipped a delightful ball from the left towards Negredo, whose first-time volley was parried away by the Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

The game was disrupted in the 11th minute when Fischer hit the deck and was unable to continue. The Danish international was clearly in some discomfort and subsequently replaced by Stewart Downing.

Negredo fires the hosts ahead

However, the hosts were unperturbed and took the lead in the 18th minute, after a swift counter attacking move.

Ramirez wrestled back possession a couple of yards inside the Swansea half and was aided by a rare burst forward by Adam Clayton.

After charging to the left-hand-side of the penalty area, Clayton cut back on to his right foot and clipped a low cross into the path of Negredo. The Spanish striker still had plenty of work to do, but managed to shrug off challenges from two Swansea defenders before hammering the ball low into the bottom corner with a first-time effort.

By that stage the hosts had shaken off their early nerves and their defensive discipline and organisation kept Swansea at bay.

Penalty doubles Boro's lead

The same couldn’t be said for the visitors, who fell further behind in the 29th minute after a clumsy tackle from Jordi Amat.

The Swansea defender conceded a penalty when Adam Forshaw skipped into the penalty area and was brought down by Amat’s dangling leg. Negredo made no mistake from the spot, sending Fabianski the wrong way by slotting the ball low into the bottom left corner.

Swansea were almost gifted a route back into the game when a careless free-kick from Antonio Barragan inside the Boro half went straight to Sigurdsson. The Icelandic international then tried to release Fernando Llorente but the ball hit the back of the striker’s heel, before Barragan managed to recover the situation.

Boro continued to create chances after the break, as Downing fired straight at Fabianski before Forshaw hit an effort over the bar.

De Roon makes it three

On 58 minutes the hosts moved out of sight, after a patient passing was finished by De Roon. The Dutch midfielder was found unmarked in the penalty area by Ramirez’s cross before stabbing the ball past Fabianski to make it three.

Boro were rarely troubled after that, though Valdes was forced to make a superb save to keep out Llorente’s header in stoppage time.