Premier League
Middlesbrough0Leicester0

Middlesbrough 0-0 Leicester City

Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez was unable to influence the game for Leicester

Middlesbrough and Leicester played out a dull goalless draw at the Riverside to boost their respective effort to pull clear of the bottom three.

In a game bereft of clear-cut chances, there were just four efforts on target throughout the whole 90 minutes.

Middlesbrough wanted a penalty when Robert Huth brought down Adama Traore and Boro's Gaston Ramirez lashed the best opportunity wide from six yards.

Leicester, without a Premier League away win this season compared to 11 in last term's title-winning campaign, saw Leonardo Ulloa head a corner straight at Brad Guzan.

Boro move four points clear of the drop zone, while Leicester have a six-point cushion.

Was it a penalty? Huth thinks so

Possibly the most interesting event at the Riverside came after the game, when Huth admitted he should have conceded a penalty.

The German defender tried to get out of the way as Traore wormed his way into the area in the first half, and even though he made contact with the Boro winger, referee Bobby Madley waved away the appeals.

"We got lucky," Huth told Sky Sports.

Ex-Chelsea winger Pat Nevin, watching the game for BBC Radio 5 live, disagreed with Huth, saying: "There is nothing you can do as a defender. There is contact, but contact does not mean a penalty kick."

Boro on the goal hunt

Alvaro Negredo touches
Alvaro Negredo was an isolated figure up front for Middlesbrough - he only had four touches in the opposition area (see above) and his 40 touches overall was the fewest of any Boro outfield player to play at least 60 minutes

The point for Boro will be a minor consolation after conceding two late goals to lose at Manchester United on Saturday.

But it means they come out of the festive period with just one goal - and no wins - from three games.

Only Hull City have scored fewer goals than Boro's 17 in the Premier League this season and their lack of creativity against Leicester prevented them turning a draw into a win.

Left-back Friend - a first-half substitute for the injured Antonio Barragan - was often their most dangerous attacking outlet as he provided a number of dangerous crosses his team-mates failed to capitalise on.

Foxes prepare for life without Mahrez

Leicester's 1-0 win over West Ham at the weekend meant they were under less pressure to pick up all the points at the Riverside.

But they will now be without influential playmaker Riyad Mahrez potentially until early February, as he leaves to join the Algeria squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mahrez has not been at his best this season though, and in the victory over West Ham it was the combination of Marc Albrighton and Islam Slimani that proved to be the Foxes' most potent weapon.

But with Slimani missing out with a fever - and himself primed for Algeria duty - and Albrighton on the bench, it is a struggle to see where Leicester's attacking thrust will come from over the next few weeks.

Perhaps from Jamie Vardy, who will return from a three-match suspension to face Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Man of the match - George Friend

George Friend
George Friend is man of the match simply because he seemed to be the only man eager to bring adventure and creativity to the game. He created a chance for himself by beating two Leicester players before shooting over

'We were looking for a point' - Manager reaction

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka: "I am pleased with the players because it's two days after the tough defeat on Saturday against Manchester United.

"We played against a team who won the league last season and are in the Champions League - but we were better than them.

"I am happy with the performance but we could not score the goal."

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Boro were better than Leicester - Karanka

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri: "I am pleased with the point because we came here looking for a minimum of one point.

"We defended well and showed good spirit. We wanted to do more but it was difficult because they closed down our actions well. It is an important point to start 2017 with.

"We were not lucky today. I am very, very happy."

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Ranieri pleased with another Leicester clean sheet

Worst performance by a defending champion - match stats

  • Leicester have collected just 21 points from their opening 20 Premier League games, the worst return by a reigning champion
  • Wes Morgan has played each of Leicester's last 81 Premier League games, the longest current run by a player in the top flight
  • Middlesbrough are winless in their last 14 league games against Leicester (D8 L6), their longest current winless streak against any team
  • Middlesbrough keeper Brad Guzan has kept consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since January 2015

What's next?

It's FA Cup third-round weekend coming up, so Leicester travel to Everton on Saturday in an all-Premier League tie, while Middlesbrough host Championship side Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 12Guzan
  • 17BarragánSubstituted forFriendat 34'minutes
  • 25Chambers
  • 6GibsonBooked at 43mins
  • 2da Silva
  • 14de Roon
  • 8ClaytonBooked at 90mins
  • 34ForshawSubstituted forLeadbitterat 89'minutes
  • 37TraoréSubstituted forDowningat 80'minutes
  • 10Negredo
  • 21RamírezBooked at 26mins

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 3Friend
  • 5Bernardo
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 9Rhodes
  • 18Stuani
  • 19Downing

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 17Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 6Huth
  • 28Fuchs
  • 24MendySubstituted forAlbrightonat 83'minutes
  • 13Amartey
  • 10King
  • 20OkazakiSubstituted forGrayat 74'minutes
  • 23Ulloa
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forMusaat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Hernández
  • 3Chilwell
  • 7Musa
  • 11Albrighton
  • 21Zieler
  • 22Gray
  • 27Wasilewski
Referee:
Robert Madley
Attendance:
32,437

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home9
Away10
Shots on Target
Home1
Away4
Corners
Home2
Away2
Fouls
Home10
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Leicester City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Leicester City 0.

Attempt saved. Andy King (Leicester City) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Daniel Amartey with a headed pass.

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough).

Andy King (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Attempt missed. Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Grant Leadbitter replaces Adam Forshaw.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) because of an injury.

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

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City).

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Marc Albrighton replaces Nampalys Mendy.

Attempt missed. Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Stewart Downing replaces Adama Traoré.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Ahmed Musa (Leicester City) because of an injury.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Ahmed Musa.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Demarai Gray replaces Shinji Okazaki.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Ahmed Musa replaces Riyad Mahrez.

Attempt saved. Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) header from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Christian Fuchs with a cross.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Fabio.

Attempt missed. George Friend (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Adam Forshaw.

Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

Andy King (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Fabio (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Fuchs (Leicester City).

Attempt blocked. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Leonardo Ulloa.

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough).

Daniel Amartey (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Danny Simpson (Leicester City).

Attempt missed. Andy King (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Christian Fuchs.

Attempt blocked. Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabio.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Christian Fuchs.

Attempt saved. George Friend (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Second Half

Second Half begins Middlesbrough 0, Leicester City 0.

Half Time

First Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Leicester City 0.

Marten de Roon (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea19161242132949
2Liverpool20135248232544
3Man City20133441221942
4Arsenal19124341192240
5Tottenham19116237142339
6Man Utd20116331191239
7Everton208662823530
8West Brom208572824429
9Bournemouth197392631-524
10Southampton206681925-624
11Burnley2072112231-923
12Watford196492334-1122
13West Ham2064102335-1222
14Leicester205692431-721
15Stoke195682232-1021
16Middlesbrough204791722-519
17Crystal Palace1944112935-616
18Sunderland2043131937-1815
19Hull2034131744-2713
20Swansea1933132144-2312
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