Championship
Middlesbrough2Birmingham0

Middlesbrough 2-0 Birmingham City

Middlesbrough had not won an opening-day game since 2008

Former Liverpool defender Daniel Ayala's goal helped earn Middlesbrough victory as Birmingham's Championship campaign started with defeat.

The Spanish defender, 23, put Boro ahead after nodding home Grant Leadbitter's first-half corner.

Demarai Gray went closest for Birmingham, the 18-year-old clipping a 30-yard free-kick narrowly over.

But Boro's Enrique Garcia sealed the points from 10 yards after Lee Tomlin's deflected shot fell into his path.

This was a solid start for Middlesbrough's Spanish boss Aitor Karanka.

Singing the Blues
Birmingham are without a win in seven Championship games, six of which have ended in defeat.

The 40-year-old, appointed last November, has strengthened his side since seeing them finish last season with six wins from the final eight league games.

Nine of Birmingham's 11 league wins last season had come on the road but they found no joy on Teesside once Ayala had out-jumped the visitors defence in the 33rd minute to open the scoring.

Within one minute of kick-off, England Under-21 international defender Ben Gibson came off because of injury, but this failed to disrupt Boro.

They continued to press forward and almost doubled their advantage when Albert Adomah fired straight at the onrushing keeper Darren Randolph just after half-time.

Randolph came to his side's rescue again, parrying George Friend's header wide before Garcia - nicknamed 'Kike' - doubled the lead in the 67th minute.

Birmingham City have not won an opening day fixture since overcoming Sheffield United on 9 August 2008

The former Spain Under-20 international showed great technique, slotting a controlled volley into the corner after Tomlin's initial effort had been blocked.

The Spaniard later missed a golden opportunity to add another following a well worked set-piece with Tomlin.

Positives were in short supply for Birmingham. They did go close through Gray's 17th-minute set-piece.

But Blues boss Lee Clark, who saw his side escape relegation to League One on the final day of last season, looks as though he has his work cut out.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka:

"It was very good; a very good result and performance. You never know in the first game of the season.

"We started in the same way as we finished last season, with confidence."

Birmingham manager Lee Clark:

"What has been frustrating is we were quite negative. We did not look confident and I do not understand it because we have had a great pre-season.

"The stat of no shots on target tells its own story. It's a little reality check but it's not the end of the world. I have total belief in the players and we can bounce back."

Birmingham fans saw their team win nine times away from home last season
Middlesbrough fans had not seen their side win an opening day fixture since beating Tottenham 2-1 in 2008
Birmingham manager Lee Clark saw his side lose 24 times in the Championship last season

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 40Mejias
  • 15Hines
  • 3Friend
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 6GibsonSubstituted forOmeruoat 4'minutes
  • 4AyalaBooked at 62mins
  • 27AdomahSubstituted forNsueat 67'minutes
  • 18Whitehead
  • 9Kike
  • 10TomlinSubstituted forWilliamsat 87'minutes
  • 20Reach

Substitutes

  • 13Konstantopoulos
  • 14Williams
  • 17Husband
  • 22Omeruo
  • 24Nsue
  • 30Fewster
  • 33Smallwood

Birmingham

  • 1Randolph
  • 2EardleyBooked at 55mins
  • 4Robinson
  • 6Edgar
  • 15Hall
  • 3Grounds
  • 22ShinnieSubstituted forDuffyat 55'minutes
  • 8Gleeson
  • 12Novak
  • 10ThomasSubstituted forDonaldsonat 67'minutes
  • 33Gray

Substitutes

  • 5Gunning
  • 7Duffy
  • 9Donaldson
  • 11Cotterill
  • 21Doyle
  • 29Brown
  • 31Caddis
Referee:
Graham Salisbury
Attendance:
18,371

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home20
Away4
Shots on Target
Home8
Away0
Corners
Home11
Away2
Fouls
Home9
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 0.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Jonathan Grounds.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.
Attempt saved. Luke Williams (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Emilio Nsue.
Attempt blocked. Emilio Nsue (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Luke Williams replaces Lee Tomlin.
Dangerous play by Lee Novak (Birmingham City).
Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Demarai Gray (Birmingham City).
Dean Whitehead (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Sebastian Hines (Middlesbrough) because of an injury.
Foul by David Edgar (Birmingham City).
George Friend (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Paul Robinson (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough).
Attempt saved. Emilio Nsue (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Sebastian Hines (Middlesbrough).
Demarai Gray (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Kike (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Neal Eardley.
Mark Duffy (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Emilio Nsue (Middlesbrough).
Attempt saved. Kike (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lee Tomlin.
Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Clayton Donaldson replaces Wes Thomas.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Emilio Nsue replaces Albert Adomah.

Goal!

Goal! Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 0. Kike (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Kike (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Reach with a cross.
Offside, Middlesbrough. Adam Reach tries a through ball, but Adam Reach is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.
Attempt saved. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Kike.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Dean Whitehead.

Booking

Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Mark Duffy (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough).
Grant Hall (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kike (Middlesbrough).
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Paul Robinson.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Neal Eardley.
Foul by Jonathan Grounds (Birmingham City).
Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Mark Duffy replaces Andrew Shinnie.

Booking

Neal Eardley (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Neal Eardley (Birmingham City).
Adam Reach (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Paul Robinson.
Foul by Grant Hall (Birmingham City).
Kike (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Kike (Middlesbrough).
Attempt blocked. Kike (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Albert Adomah.
Attempt saved. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross.
Attempt saved. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kike.
Wes Thomas (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough).

Second Half

Second Half begins Middlesbrough 1, Birmingham City 0.
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Bournemouth110043
2Watford110033
3Middlesbrough110023
4Millwall110023
5Nottm Forest110023
6Ipswich110013
7Derby110013
8Sheff Wed110013
9Reading101001
10Wigan101001
11Blackburn101001
12Brentford101001
13Cardiff101001
14Charlton101001
15Norwich000000
16Wolves000000
17Fulham1001-10
18Brighton1001-10
19Rotherham1001-10
20Birmingham1001-20
21Blackpool1001-20
22Leeds1001-20
23Bolton1001-30
24Huddersfield1001-40
View full Championship table

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