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Mourinho watches as Middlesbrough snatch play-off advantage

09 May 2015, 09:52

London - Middlesbrough took a big step towards the Championship play-off final with a dramatic 2-1 win over Brentford on Friday in front of Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea manager Mourinho was watching from the Griffin Park stands as his old friend and former Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka led his Middlesbrough team to victory in the semi-final first leg in west London.

Middlesbrough had taken the lead through Jelle Vossen's first-half header, but Brentford, who finished seven points behind the visitors in the second tier table, levelled after the interval when Andre Gray punished a mistake by goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.

Substitute Fernando Amorebieta then scored a deflected winner three minutes into stoppage-time to give Karanka's side a crucial advantage heading into the second leg at the Riverside Stadium next Friday.

Karanka had taken his players to Marbella this week to refresh their tired bodies and minds after they fell short in the race for automatic promotion.

They still looked in holiday mode in the opening stages though, allowing Alan Judge room to whip in a fierce shot which Konstantopoulos tipped onto a post at full stretch.

But Middlesbrough took the lead after 25 minutes when Vossen slipped between two Brentford defenders to meet Adam Clayton's cross and guided his header across goalkeeper David Button and into the corner of the net.

Gray missed a golden opportunity to equalise shortly after the interval when he blazed over after Jota had flicked on Judge's cross.

But the striker made amends in the 54th minute when he chased Jake Bidwell's long ball down the left flank.

Konstantopoulos came to meet the ball on the corner of the penalty area, only for Gray to charge down the keeper's clearance before spinning around and slotting home.

However, Venezuelan defender Amorebieta, on loan from Fulham, had the last word when George Friend headed down Grant Leadbitter's corner and the full-back's shot clipped Bidwell and flew into the net.




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