Championship
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion0MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough3

Brighton & Hove Albion 0-3 Middlesbrough

By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport
Kike
Kike's first goal for four months put Middlesbrough ahead against Brighton

Middlesbrough confirmed they will be top of the Championship at Christmas by winning at Brighton and ending the Seagulls' unbeaten start to the season.

Chris Hughton's side had avoided defeat in their opening 21 league games.

Kike's first goal since 18 August, a near-post header from Albert Adomah's fourth-minute cross, put Boro in front.

Adomah diverted in Daniel Ayala's header to make it 2-0 at half-time and Cristhian Stuani nodded in from close range after the break to seal victory.

Leaders Middlesbrough are three points clear of Brighton, who surrendered second place in the table as Derby won at Ipswich.

The home side's failure to deal with crosses proved to be their undoing, with all three of Middlesbrough's goals coming from centres into the box.

Brighton struggled to break through a resolute Boro defence, which kept their 12th clean sheet in 22 league outings this term and has not conceded a goal in any of their last six Championship matches.

Brighton 0-3 Middlesbrough as it happened

The pundit's view

Former West Bromwich Albion striker Jason Roberts on BBC Radio 5 live: "Brighton could have been a bit more decisive. Make no mistake, they've come up against a really strong, well-oiled unit.

"(Middlesbrough head coach) Aitor Karanka hasn't shouted and screamed, he's been calm throughout and you can be when you've got a team that's only conceded 12 goals in the league.

"When you're coming up a side like that and you concede goals the way they have, it's very disappointing.

"Chris Hughton will be disappointed with the way they've gone about this game, but they need to maintain their focus because this is a team that could come very close to promotion."

A special visitor

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho worked with Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka at Real Madrid

News of Guus Hiddink's appointment as Chelsea manager broke during Middlesbrough's victory at Brighton, which was watched by his predecessor at Stamford Bridge - Jose Mourinho.

An agency representing the 52-year-old released a statement earlier on Saturday, which read: "He (Jose) will not be attending any high-profile games because he wants to discourage any speculation about his future."

But Mourinho did take in some Championship action later in the day and he watched Karanka - who was on Mourinho's coaching staff at Real Madrid - lead his side to an emphatic success.

What the managers said

Brighton manager Chris Hughton:

"Middlesbrough got an early goal and an early lift. We've now conceded four goals from corners in our last three games and that is something that needs to be eradicated.

"But we were up against a very good side and it's very difficult to be too harsh on the players.

"The reaction from our supporters at the end was excellent, and I hope the impact is positive and this defeat is a little bit of a reality check that allows us to get back to winning ways."

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka:

"Jose brought us luck. We worked together at Real Madrid and it was an amazing experience.

"He is a friend of mine. I didn't tell the players that he would be watching but it wasn't a secret.

"Afterwards, he came into the dressing room to offer congratulations. He felt he had watched a really good team and he was impressed with us. He was the best and he will be the best."

Line-ups

Brighton

  • 13Stockdale
  • 2Bruno
  • 3Greer
  • 4HünemeierSubstituted forGoldsonat 60'minutes
  • 14Calderon
  • 27van La Parra
  • 6Stephens
  • 7Kayal
  • 15MurphySubstituted forCroftsat 74'minutes
  • 10HemedSubstituted forZamoraat 74'minutes
  • 21Wilson

Substitutes

  • 1Mäenpää
  • 8Crofts
  • 17Goldson
  • 19Manu
  • 24Ince
  • 25Zamora
  • 28Chicksen

Middlesbrough

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 24NsueSubstituted forKalasat 74'minutes
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 3Friend
  • 8ClaytonSubstituted forZuculiniat 84'minutes
  • 7LeadbitterBooked at 14mins
  • 18Stuani
  • 19Downing
  • 27Adomah
  • 9KikeSubstituted forFabbriniat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Amorebieta
  • 10De Pena
  • 13Mejias
  • 26Kalas
  • 31Fabbrini
  • 34Forshaw
  • 36Zuculini
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
26,445

Match Stats

Home TeamBrightonAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home14
Away10
Shots on Target
Home2
Away6
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home6
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Middlesbrough 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Middlesbrough 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by George Friend.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Middlesbrough. George Friend tries a through ball, but Albert Adomah is caught offside.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Bruno.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dale Stephens.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Middlesbrough. Stewart Downing tries a through ball, but Diego Fabbrini is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  9. Post update

    Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Íñigo Calderón (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  11. Post update

    Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Bruno Zuculini replaces Adam Clayton.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Bobby Zamora (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  14. Post update

    Tomas Kalas (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Rajiv van La Parra (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough).

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Bobby Zamora (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bruno with a cross.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Andrew Crofts replaces Jamie Murphy.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Bobby Zamora replaces Tomer Hemed.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Tomas Kalas replaces Nsue.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Middlesbrough22144433122146
2Derby22128233132044
3Brighton22111013123843
4Hull22125531161541
5Burnley22108430201038
6Ipswich229763129234
7Birmingham229672723433
8Cardiff228952723433
9Brentford229583432232
10Sheff Wed217952826230
11QPR227872728-129
12Blackburn2161052218428
13Nottm Forest227782221128
14Reading217682725227
15Leeds216872124-326
16Preston2151061717025
17Wolves216782728-125
18Fulham225983639-324
19Huddersfield2256112434-1021
20Bristol City2248102138-1720
21MK Dons2254131830-1219
22Rotherham2253142438-1418
23Charlton2246121938-1918
24Bolton22111101833-1514
View full Championship table

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