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Asambalonga’s Strike Sends Middlesbrough to the Top of the English Championship

Congolese forward Britt Assombalonga scored as Middlesbrough survived a late scare to move top of the Championship.

Congolese forward Britt Assombalonga scored a critical first-half strike as Middlesbrough survived a late scare to move top of the Championship after a 2-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday.

Two early second-half goals from midfielder Mo Besic and Britt Assombalonga were enough to secure all three points despite a late fightback from the hosts.

It was clear from the start that Middlesbrough intended to sit back and absorb high pressing Sheffield, something that left Assombalonga isolated up front on the pitch.

After a cagey 20 minutes, Stewart Downing finally managed to bring in Middlesbrough’s first cross to give Asambalonga his early involvement in the action. He was quick and diligent, but playing as a lone striker, he had little support and failed to make an impression.

Wednesday continued to press high up the field while Borro continued to sit back. For most of the first half, the visitors had ten men behind the ball and kept the Owls firmly at bay.

The game came to life in the second half after Middlesbrough broke the deadlock clearly against the run of play. Mo Besic converted a well taken Jonny Howson pass to give Boro the lead.

The game tactics were a clear replica of what Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United used against Liverpool last season. Middlesbrough’s manager Aitor Karanka who was an assistant coach to Mourinho during his spell at Madrid clearly took a leaf out his former boss’ playbook, and it worked magic.

Still, against the run of play, Middlesbrough doubled their lead just six minutes later after a catastrophic back-pass from Tom Lees gifted Asambalonga a two-on-one chance.

He proved why he’s considered one of the most lethal strikers in the championship. He started a neat one-two with Basic before finishing the game off with an easy tap-in.

Stunned by the score-line, Sheffield changed tactics and brought in Atdhe Nuhiu on for Joao to allow a more aggressive direct approach but all in vain.

Wednesday rallied and got one back late in the 82nd minute, but it was a little too late. Boro clung on to win the game 2-1 which takes them top of the Championship.

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