Swansea City 0-0 Middlesbrough: Draw helps neither relegation candidate

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In these desperate times, a single point does neither side much good at the moment, and both Middlesbrough and Swansea City will feel disappointed to have finished goalless at the Liberty Stadium.

The home side was more consistently incisive as Gylfi Sigurdsson was dangerous on a number of occasions, but they failed to put significant distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Middlesbrough had a moment to win the game in the final seconds, but Rudy Gestede missed an open header, and they still has a significant gap to close for safety.

Both teams early on looked to pump crosses into the box for their strikers. Swansea had the better possession in the opening 10 minutes, with Martin Olsson and Jordan Ayew having attempts on net, the latter of which tested goalkeeper Victor Valdes for an awkward save.

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Middlesbrough had a spell of great play minutes later, as they ripped off a host of shots, many of which forced brave blocks from the Swansea defenders. After good work from Adama Traore, one shot struck the forearm of defender Alfie Mawson, but his block was legal with his arm in a natural position.

New Boro manager Steve Agnew was forced into a change when Gaston Ramirez went down with an ankle problem in the 38th minute and could not continue, as the visitors brought on Rudy Gestede as an attacking presence. The game devolved as it crept towards halftime, with hardly a chance on net for either team after the opening few minutes, and it reached the break without a goal.

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Out of halftime, Swansea was the better team going forward. Martin Olsson thrashed a ball across the face of goal in the 56th minute but nobody was there to meet it. Sigurdsson forced a big save from Victor Valdez in the 64th minute with a brilliant bit of technical ability to work a wonderful curling effort on net.

Middlesbrough was forced into a second change when Fabio appeared to lose conciousness after an attempt to head the ball under pressure. The Boro medical staff was shown clearly restraining Fabio from coming back on the field against the player’s wishes, instead requiring a substitution.

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Sigurdsson went close again with five minutes remaining on a free-kick from just outside the box as the Swans continued to push men forward. Boro clung on for dear life, and were lucky on numerous occasions not to be reduced to 10 men as referee Bobby Madley let a high number of dangerous challenges go unpunished. The worst of which came with three minutes left after Gestede, already on a yellow, went in studs up on Tom Carroll, but he stayed on the field after a long chat with the referee, he was let off the hook likely because Carroll was able to avoid the otherwise ugly challenge.

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Swansea came so close as Luciano Narsingh seemed in on goal with a minute in regulation, but he was forced wide by Valdez who came off his line and couldn’t get a shot off. Middlesbrough had one last chance to nick a win against the run of play as a brilliant ball from Negredo that met the head of Gestede, but he put it agonizingly wide.

The point for the Swans moves them one above the rest of the relegation zone, with Hull City having moved level on Saturday with a win. For Middlesbrough, they still have four points between themselves and Hull, mired in the midst of a relegation scrap.