Middlesbrough 1-2 Crystal Palace - Player Ratings: A day to forget at the Riverside

Stewart Downing was Boro's highest scorer after their first defeat of the season.

Middlesbrough 1-2 Crystal Palace - Player Ratings: A day to forget at the Riverside
Stewart Downing in action (Picture from the Gazette)

Middlesbrough suffered their first league defeat of the season after a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at the Riverside.

Christian Benteke’s header on 15 minutes gave the visitors an early lead before Daniel Ayala drew Boro level before half time.

A rare mistake from Boro full back George Friend then allowed Wilfred Zaha to score Palace’s winner, giving the visitors their first victory of the season.

But how Boro’s players perform? Here are their player ratings.

Goalkeeper and defence

Victor Valdes - 5.5: The Spanish keeper returned to the side after injury but was forced to pick the ball out of his net after just 15 minutes, following Benteke’s header. He made decent save to deny Andros Townsend in the first half but was left exposed by his defence for Zaha’s winner.

Antonio Barragan - 6: Was moved to right back after series of games in different positions. He got forward to good effect in the first half but his crosses were often inaccurate and the 29-year-old faded as the match went on.

Daniel Ayala - 6.5: Made a poor start as he was outjumped by Benteke for Palace’s opener, however the Boro defender had a solid game after that. He was strong in the air and produced a great leap score an equaliser before half time.

Ben Gibson - 6.5: The 23-year-old generally defended pretty well against the physical prowess of Christian Benteke. He almost scored a stunning equaliser too, but Palace goalkeeper Steve Mandanda made a flying save.

George Friend - 5: Usually one of Boro’s most consistent performers, Friend had a rare game to forget on Saturday afternoon. He struggled to cope with the pace of Zaha and made a fatal error to gift the Palace winger a goal just minutes after half time.

Midfield and forwards

Adam Clayton - 5: Boro were chasing the game for large periods, which didn’t suit their combative midfielder. His defensive instincts meant that he was replaced after an hour, as the hosts searched for a way back into the game.

Adam Forshaw - 6: Boro’s star man in recent weeks was unable to recreate another eye-catching performance here. He kept the ball moving but often received it in deep positions and was unable to create anything for Boro’s attacking line to feed off.

Stewart Downing - 7: Always looked like Boro’s best route to a goal. After starting on the left, he gradually drifted inside an appeared ready to make something happen when he received the ball. His corner before half time was nodded in by Ayala, and the England winger almost added a goal to his name when his second half shot whistled past the post.

Cristhian Stuani - 5: Boro’s hero at Sunderland a couple of weeks ago was a shadow of that player here. He struggled to get involved in the game on the right hand side and was subsisted after 81 minutes.

Viktor Fischer - 5.5: The Danish international made his first start for the club but struggled make an impact in the number 10 position. He produced a probing pass through to Alvaro Negredo at the end of the first half but he was replaced shortly after half time.

Alvaro Negredo - 5.5: Boro’s lead striker received little service once again and was an isolated figure upfront. His only chance came before half time when he was sent through on goal by Fischer but Mandanda saved his effort.

Substitutes

Marten De Roon - 6: Was introduced on 57 minutes. His presence allowed Boro to move up the pitch as they pushed for an equaliser.

Gaston Ramirez - 6.5: The Uruguayan was rested after playing 87 minutes for his country in mid-week. He livened up Boro’s attack in the final half an hour and came closest to levelling the scoring.

Adama Traore - Came on for the last nine minutes, not enough time to give a fair rating.