Match ends, Aston Villa 3, Middlesbrough 0.
Aston Villa continued their charge up the Championship table with a resounding victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough.
Villa's fourth successive league win - all coming against sides also in the play-off mix - moved them up to sixth, although Derby County and Bristol City have games in hand.
The hosts scored twice during a dominant first 45 minutes against Boro, with strikes by Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn putting them in control at Villa Park.
After substitute Britt Assombalonga had missed Middlesbrough's best chance, heading wide from inside the area, Albert Adomah made it 3-0 from close range with a minute left.
The defeat was Boro's third in a row - the first time they have suffered three consecutive losses since being relegated from the Premier League in 2017.
A 2-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers on 23 February had just about kept Tony Pulis' side in the automatic promotion picture, but they are now 16 points adrift of second-placed Sheffield United and face a battle just to hold on to their spot in the play-offs.
By contrast, Aston Villa are now one of the form sides in the division and look well placed to finish inside the top six for the second season running.
They led inside half an hour against the Teessiders, with McGinn teeing up El Ghazi for a cool finish past goalkeeper Darren Randolph after the visitors had given away possession.
McGinn, who scored twice in the 3-1 win at Nottingham Forest, then grabbed his third in two games with a powerful shot into the corner.
Dean Smith's men added further gloss to the scoreline when Adomah tapped in with moments left, stretching Villa's winning run to four games - their longest such sequence since February 2018.
Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith told BBC WM:
"It was a really good, positive performance against a good team with good players. They were very difficult to break down in the first 15 minutes and were a threat on the counter, but we finally got our rewards.
"We kept pushing and my only gripe is that we didn't score more because I thought we were really good today.
"(Climbing into the top six) puts a spring in the step but we know there are teams with games in hand over us. We have just got to keep doing what we're doing. It's nice to go into the international break with four wins on the spin."
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis told BBC Tees:
"They were three goals that were unlike us to concede. We haven't given goals away like that away from home.
"There has been a flatness around the club since the defeat against Preston on Wednesday and for the first 20 minutes we still looked like there was a hangover - we didn't get going at all.
"I'm really disappointed. Villa have had five shots on goal and scored three goals. That's something that wasn't happening when we were doing well."
- 27El Mohamady
- 19GreenSubstituted forAdomahat 65'minutes
- 22El GhaziSubstituted forDavisat 75'minutes
- 18AbrahamSubstituted forKodjiaat 72'minutes
- 28L Kalinic
- 5ShottonSubstituted forDowningat 32'minutes
- 2MikelBooked at 56mins
- 26WingSubstituted forAssombalongaat 49'minutes
- 11HugillSubstituted forFletcherat 62'minutes
- Darren Bond
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 3, Middlesbrough 0.
Attempt blocked. Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough).
Goal! Aston Villa 3, Middlesbrough 0. Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Keinan Davis (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Neil Taylor.
Attempt blocked. Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Neil Taylor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough).
Attempt blocked. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Glenn Whelan.
Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).
Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).
Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jack Grealish (Aston Villa).
Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).
Dael Fry (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.