Firstly though a few things to mention, this blog comes from like the title say behind the away dug out, where I’ll also be for the Southampton game, and all next season as that will be my seat.
Oh can I just add please that these are all my views, I’ve only watched the match highlights once on Sunday night just to see the incident and if the elbow to Clayton’s face was as brutal as I had remembered.
Sunday arrived, expectations were high on 2 fronts, 1 Hull had spawned a lucky draw the day before with a last minute penalty save and 2 If we didn’t better or match Hulls result we would be near enough relegated. On the plus side though, the Mackems had been relegated the day before.
Valdes was still out with a rib injury so it meant that Brad still continued in the net, back 4 Gorgeous George, Callum Chambers, Gibbo and Fabio (thank god a right back than can attack and defend). Midfield 5 were De Roon, Clayts, Forshaw, Downing and Stuani, with the Beast up top.
As kick off approached so did expectations. The Boro had come out of the traps and at Citeh from the start, but you looked at the away squad and the majority of the players that started for them, individually had cost more than our entire team.
We kicked off, understandably so Boro we cautious, the ball was passed around then City broke with a pass from midfield to the predatory Aguero who raced down the edge of the 18 yard box with the ball before firing it across at a tight angle for his strike partner Gabriel Jesus but pronounced HeyZeus or something like that. Thankfully though the young Brazilian missed the ball as did everyone else, it was one of them that if the ball had struck a leg moving towards goal, it would most probably have gone in.
Boro not put off went on the offensive although the 1st attack was flagged off side, never the less though onward Boro went, De Roon had a hit, George had a shot but none tested the keeper, Boro went close with Stuani from a corner after Negredo fired a shot across from a tight angle.
Then came the 1st point of talking, Clayton rushes to win a ball and takes an apparent elbow to the face from Fernandinho, instead of going down though as the referee blows for a free kick, Clayts rushes to the ref showing that it was an elbow, the TV replays show it a lot worse than from what I could see but the referee Mr Kevin (Boro don’t have a) Friend (in me) just gives a free kick, you just know though if it had been the other way around and it was the Citeh player been hit, he would have gone down as if hit by a sniper’s shot on top of the west stand and Clayts would have been sent off.
Onwards the red army pressed, a Citeh attack was broken down by gorgeous George in the centre of our 18 yard box he gallops forward and lays a pass off to Downing in yards of space on the left wing, Downing bursts forward, George continues his run forward, Downing arrives at the edge of the 18 yard box and plays the ball square across the edge, the ball hits George on the heels but instead of ricocheting away it continues on its path to Negredo who slips as he hits the shot in off the post, The Riverside erupted, the lead was well deserved, the players were happy, us fans were excited and ecstatic. Mr (un)Friend(ly) blew the whistle for half time.
The atmosphere in the concourses was lifted, this is what the Boro needed, but could we hold out for the 2nd half, after a first half that we had been the better side throughout.
2nd half kicked off, within 5 mins Pep realised that this small club from a 1 team town, meant business off went Garcia and Clichy and on came Sterling and (dirty diving cheat) Sane, pretty much straight away Citeh upped their own game, the 2 wingers straight away were causing problems, but not anything that the Boro backline couldn’t deal with, Boro still had shots on goal that were either blocked or saved.
Then came THAT incident that dirty cheating diving German Sane turns at speed onto a ball to stop De Roon, Sane gets the ball and knocks it to his left, BUT the moment of his speed and the turn takes him into De Roon who had stopped holding his hands up to show that he wasn’t making any contact, Sane than theatrically throws himself into De Roon and goes down, (un)Friend(ly) blows the whistle and points to the spot.
De Roon can’t believe it, Fabio goes ape, the defenders and all the players in red around the incident can’t believe what has happened, Sane looks very sheepish (even from where I was sat, as the referee blew his whistle, Pep turned around and whilst walking back to his seat was shaking his head, mouthing “never”), Fabio lets rip at the Ref, Gibbo pushes Fabio away and tells him to stop and shut up, Fabio pushes Gibbo back one handed and continues his verbal lambasting of unfriendly Kev.
De Roon comes over and starts, Kev ain’t having any of it (he’s the ref, he’s in charge, Citeh are a big club, Boro aint), Fabio is shown a yellow card, Gibbo is still trying to speak to the ref, De Roon obviously very angry at the perfect 10 dive by Sane goes over and starts remonstrating with the culprit, there’s pushing, there’s shoving and there’s still a penalty.
To a chorus of boos Aguero, sent Brad the wrong way and equalised, which was nice because it meant that we were reminded that there were some away fans.
We restarted the match and needless to say when Sane touched the ball he was booed. We still needed to score we needed something else something different, this came in the shape of Adama, he came on to a rousing reception from the home fans and replaced Stuani.
The ball is played through to Adama, he beats Otamendi for speed (tbh Adama could beat a speeding bullet if he had to) but the big defender pulls him back as he is approaching the penalty box, was he the last man?? Apparently not as Otamendi is shown a yellow card and Boro are given a free kick.
Downing stands over the ball, he whips one into the box, the keeper parries it up into the air, it’s headed back across to Negredo, who shoots, it’s blocked, he back heels it, it’s blocked, he pokes it through to Chambers who lifts it into the back of the net. Once again the Riverside erupts, Chambers runs into the corner and slides on his knees towards the fans, it wasn’t the prettiest goal that he will ever score, but it was his 1st in a Boro shirt, and maybe the dream was on.
The Fans wanted it, if we are to go down we will go down fighting, just over 10 minutes to hold on.
But every dream doesn’t always have a happy ending. Citeh win a free kick on the far side of the pitch, it’s taken short to Aguero, who chips it into the box where HeyZeus head it in, Brad turns and watch’s it without trying to stop it, its 2-2, the balloon has been deflated. Still Boro try for a winner, shots come in, De Roon hits one from the edge of the box that Caballero stops. The game ends.
The players have given everything, on the day though we were beaten by a dirty cheating diving German winger (that’s winger I’ve put, nothing rude).
It looks more than likely that we will be relegated on Monday night at Stamford bridge by the Champions, but I just hope that we at least go down fighting again like we did against Man City, but it’s a little too late to save the season.