Boro lifted as double by Viduka brings end to drought

Middlesbrough 3 - Manchester City 2

Kevin Keegan lives just up the road from the Riverside, but the Manchester City manager took the neighbourly approach a little too far as his side proved ideal doormats for two Middlesbrough players in desperate need of a goal.

Mark Viduka and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink have grown somewhat uncomfortable at the increasing regularity of manager Steve McClaren's endorsements of their goalscoring credentials in the face of lengthy droughts, in the Australian's case a three-month barren run which has proved by far the most barren of his time in this country.

However, all that was put right as Viduka claimed goals in each half, the prelude to Hasselbaink curling home a stunning 30-yard free-kick after 65 minutes to end a nine-game non- appearance on the scoresheet.

"It's been a long run without a goal," said Viduka of his 12-match purgatory. "It's difficult when things are not going for you, it can hit your confidence. But Jimmy and I are working well together, the manager has stuck with us and he's been very supportive and it was good to do the business."

Hasselbaink's impotence in front of goal has been a mere two months, and he revealed: "I'm happy that we both scored, it was very important for us to keep going through the drought, and even more importantly we gained another three points."

There was a telling domestic sub-plot to this tale of Antipodean-Dutch redemption, in the shape of Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing, whose latest display of artistry down the left finally persuaded the normally reticent McClaren to concede to the growing clamour for the midfielder's inclusion in the full England squad.

McClaren said: "If he keeps playing like that, Sven Goran Eriksson's got to pick him, because he was tremendous. He was a great outlet for us."

That glowing endorsement was backed Keegan, who resides in the millionaires' estate of Wynyard, six miles from the Riverside: "I don't think either side performed, but Viduka was the difference along with the young lad Downing, who everyone is tipping for England.

"From what I've seen here, the sooner they get him in there, the better. He looks to be the answer to me and he's learning very quickly."

Viduka pounced nine minutes into either half, deftly chipping the opener over David James after being teed up by a powerful Downing burst, before propelling his seventh goal of the season into the top corner via the outside of his right boot following a clinical exchange of passes with his forward partner. Robbie Fowler restored parity six minutes before the break, taking advantage of sloppy marking to fire a crisp shot into the roof of the net as Middlesbrough failed to deal with a route one punt by Sylvain Distin.

Bradley Wright-Phillips upstaged brother Shaun by scoring his first Premiership goal within five minutes of his introduction, wrong-footing goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with a neat close-range finish which had Keegan drawing inevitable comparisons with the teenager's step-father, Ian Wright. It set up a needlessly nervy end to a first win in three games for the hosts, who closed to within two points of fourth placed Manchester United. McClaren added: "It was a bit nervous at the end, and I didn't need that. We shouldn't have been hanging on and we nearly paid for it."

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Schwarzer; McMahon, Southgate, Cooper, Reiziger; Parlour, Zenden, Nemeth (Doriva, 46), Downing; Hasselbaink (Bates, 90), Viduka. Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Job, Davies.

Manchester City (4-4-2): James; Mills, Distin, Dunne, Jordan; S Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Sibierski (Flood, 76); Fowler, Macken (B Wright-Phillips, 76). Substitutes not used: Waterrus (gk), Sommeil, Onuoha.

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice