Middlesbrough edged out Sunderland 1-0 in the Tees-Wear derby to keep their very slim chances of Premier League survival alive.
Marten de Roon scored the winning goal inside 10 minutes, poking the ball through the legs of Jordan Pickford after taking down Adam Clayton’s long pass over the top of a static defence.
In a game of few chances Pickford later denied Stuart Downing when he was through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, while a Whabi Zhazri free-kick was the closest Sunderland came to scoring.
The visiting fans could often be heard chanting that they wanted David Moyes sacked, while the overall quality of the match served as a demonstration as to why these teams are the division's bottom two.
The result leaves Sunderland rock bottom and 12 points from safety, albeit with a game in hand, and they could be relegated at the weekend. Middlesbrough are six points off Hull and face a daunting run-in.
TALKING POINT - What next for Moyes?
It seems inevitable that Moyes and Sunderland will part ways. Against the second worst team in the league, Moyes’ side were woeful and devoid of both ideas and fight. The travelling fans made it clear early on that they want the manager out and the evidence of this season certainly suggests that he’s not the man to rebuild the Black Cats. The manner of Sunderland’s relegation will severely damage his reputation, and you have to wonder what club will be willing to employ him in the future.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough). It wasn’t a game of much quality but it was his excellent, albeit simple, pass to set up de Roon that made the difference.
7’ – SAVE! Ndong wins the ball in the Middlesbrough half and quickly floats it forward to Defoe, who strikes a left-foot volley sweetly but puts it straight at Guzan.
9’ – GOAL! Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland (de Roon). With their first attack of the game the home side score as Clayton picks out de Roon with a long through ball and he takes it down on his chest before poking past Pickford.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: De Roon strike gives Middlesbrough win against woeful Sunderland