ANXIOUS ALBERT MAY RUE REQUEST
Boro hit three to see off the Owls
PERHAPS Albert Adomah will be reconsidering his decision to submit a transfer request after Middlesbrough’s emphatic victory at Sheffield Wednesday.
With Adomah nowhere to be seen following last weekend’s dressing-room bust up with Aitor Karanka, Boro proved they can still contend for promotion without the Ghanaian international, who is expected to leave Teesside before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Adam Reach, Diego Fabbrini and Christian Stuani were on target as they claimed their first league away win of the season and surged back into the play-off positions.
Marco Matias’ deflected second-half strike briefly hauled Sheffield Wednesday level, but the home side were second best throughout as Boro produced the kind of slick counter-attacking display that became their trademark as they reached last season’s play-off final.
Karanka said: “People were reminding me that Middlesbrough have not won here very often, but you could see that the players’ performance on the pitch was much more important than what has happened in the past.
“It was a very important victory for us. It was more than three points because after last weekend’s defeat at home against Bristol City we needed to show everybody that we are not the team that played in that game.”
Adomah’s non-appearance at Hillsborough was anticipated after he submitted a formal transfer request on Thursday, but Atdhe Nuhiu’s absence from Sheffield Wednesday’s starting line-up was much more of a surprise given that he had scored in both of last season’s games with Middlesbrough.
Karanka said: “It was a surprise to see the Sheffield Wednesday team because I expected them to play with Nuhiu. He created a lot of problems last season, here and at the Riverside.
“I was expecting him to play, and it was a surprise when he did not. In the second half, Nuhiu came onto the pitch and things were more difficult because we know how difficult he is to stop.”
With Nuhiu on the bench, Boro dominated the opening 45 minutes and should really have been more than one goal clear at the break.
The opener arrived two min- utes before the interval, with Reach drilling home a low finish after the Wednesday defence failed to deal with Grant Leadbitter’s inswinging corner.
The home side enjoyed their best spell of the game at the start of the second half, and levelled shortly after the hour mark when Matias’ shot deflected off Ben Gibson and looped over Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Boro boast a host of attacking midfielders adept at playing on the break though, and it was only three minutes before they swept upfield to reclaim their advantage.
Substitute David Nugent played Fabbrini into the clear down the left-hand side, and the Italian, who is on a season-long loan from Watford, found the far corner of the net.
Nugent was involved in Boro’s third, nodding the ball into Stuani’s path to enable to Uruguayan to drill home and Adam Forshaw almost claimed a fourth as he headed against the post in stoppage time.
Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal said: “The big lesson is we must play from the beginning and not give 45 minutes to the opposition.
“They are one of the strongest teams, but we didn’t play for 45 minutes. We were very soft, gave the ball away too often and this was really bad for us.”
SAINTLY STRIKE: Christian Stuani puts Middlesbrough 3-1 up