Middlesbrough 1 Hull City 0: Ramirez sinks sorry Tigers
Middlesbrough won at home in the Premier League for just the second time this season as Gaston Ramirez's header saw off sorry Hull City.
Gaston Ramirez's second-half header proved enough for Middlesbrough to earn a deserved 1-0 Premier League victory over a toothless Hull City on Monday.
Boro completely dominated proceedings at the Riverside Stadium and had they shown more poise in the final third the margin of their win would have been more comfortable.
Alvaro Negredo missed Boro's best chance of the opening half, while Viktor Fischer saw a goal chalked off for offside.
But Ramirez, who spent the 2014-15 campaign on loan at Hull, grabbed a goal to go with an impressive performance on the hour when Hull - who defended resolutely all game - switched off at a corner.
The goal was enough for Aitor Karanka's men to earn just a second home Premier League win of the season and they are now five points clear of the relegation zone in 13th.
Hull boss Mike Phelan, meanwhile, can have few arguments about the result with the Tigers - who have still yet to win a Premier League match played on a Monday - making little impression on the game and they remain second bottom.
Middlesbrough were bright from the off and a swift counter-attack led by Ramirez ended with Marten de Roon playing in Negredo, who wastefully blazed over on the half volley when one-on-one.
Ramirez troubled the visiting defence and his low 20-yard effort brought a good stop down to his left from David Marshall.
Marshall was called into action again as Adam Forshaw bent a low shot towards the bottom right-hand corner with the goalkeeper again making a good parry.
Boro continued to probe and Fischer prodded home after Negredo knocked Ramirez's cross into his path, but he was denied a first Boro goal by the offside flag.
Negredo was off target again when he failed to make clean contact with Forshaw's deep cross.
The match continued in a similar vein after half-time and Adama Diomande was perhaps fortunate that referee Mike Dean deemed his barge on Ben Gibson in the area was not worthy of a penalty.
But the pressure finally told on the hour mark. Fischer floated a corner over from the right and Ramirez ghosted in completely unmarked to head into the right-hand side of the goal despite not making clean contact.
Negredo saw a tame header easily saved by Marshall as Boro sought a second, but the hosts should have been punished for slack marking when Sam Clucas headed over when unmarked from Robert Snodgrass' corner.
Hull committed more men forward and Diomande's excellent dipping effort from range brought a fine stop from Victor Valdes, while the same man just failed to get a touch on Ahmed Elmohamady's stoppage-time flick on as Boro held on for the points.
Key Opta Stats:
- Gaston Ramirez’s goal was Middlesbrough’s sixth headed goal of the season – only West Ham and Crystal Palace (eight each) have scored more in the Premier League.
- Indeed, only West Ham (53 per cent) have scored a higher proportion of headed goals in the Premier League this season than Middlesbrough (46 per cent).
- Hull are winless in their last nine away league games against Middlesbrough (D1 L8), a run that stretches back to a 2-1 win in March 1986.
- The Tigers have lost their last five Premier League away games – their worst run in the division since a run of six in April 2010.
- Viktor Fischer mustered six shots in this game, the most by a Middlesbrough player in a single Premier League match this season.
- Middlesbrough have won two of their last three Premier League home games – as many as they’d won in their previous 18 at the Riverside in the division.
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