x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Tuncay is the hero for Boro

Aston Villa missed out on the chance to climb into a Champions League spot as two goals from Tuncay Sanli guided Middlesbrough to victory.

BIRMINGHAM // Aston Villa missed out on the chance to climb into a Champions League spot as two-goal Tuncay Sanli earned Gareth Southgate's side victory at Villa Park. The Turkish star capitalised on a mistake by Steve Sidwell with two minutes remaining to earn Boro their second away success of the campaign.

Sidwell had cancelled out Tuncay's 34th-minute opener on what was his full league debut for the midlands club with an equaliser three minutes later. Villa had started the stronger in the damp conditions as both James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor caused the visiting defence problems. But it was Middlesbrough who opened the scoring in the 34th minute as a mistake by the Villa defender Nicky Shorey gifted the opening goal to Tuncay.

Stewart Downing whipped in a cross from the left flank that Shorey was first to react to, but he only deflected the ball into the path of Tuncay, who crashed a low shot past Brad Friedel from eight yards out. But Sidwell cancelled that goal within 180 seconds as Middlesbrough were punished for failing to clear a shot from Agbonlahor. The ball only went as far as Milner whose centre was headed home by Sidwell.

The Middlesbrough goalkeeper Ross Turnbull made fine saves to deny Agbonlahor and Milner after the break, and they proved vital when in the 88th minute Tuncay got on the end of Sidwell's woeful backpass to get the winner. * PA Sport