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Conventry defeat Middlesbrough to reach Championship play-off

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Middlesbrough 0-1 Coventry City Championship play-off
Coventry City players celebrate a goal in the play-off match against Middlesbrough. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |
  • Coventry played Middlesbrough in the second leg of the Championship play-off semi-final on Wednesday evening
  • The first leg ended in a goalless draw and both sides needed a goal to ease through to the final
  • A stunning goal from Gustavo Hamer ensured Coventry are in the Play-off final and will battle Luton Town

Gustavo Hamer propelled Coventry City to the brink of the Premier League as they fought their way past Middlesbrough to secure a place in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final. The Brazilian-born midfielder’s impressive goal in the 57th minute secured a 1-0 overall victory in a tightly contested second leg at the Riverside Stadium.

Under the management of Mark Robins, Coventry will face Luton at Wembley on May 27, with the opportunity to return to the top flight for the first time since 2001 within reach. It was a perfect ending to the day for the Sky Blues, as they also announced their manager’s new four-year contract. However, it was a deeply disappointing outcome for Middlesbrough’s manager, Michael Carrick, as his team will spend another season in the second tier.

Middlesbrough 0-1 Coventry Sky Bet Championship play-off

Coventry City midfielder Gustavo Hamer celebrates after scoring the winner against Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final on Wednesday, May 17 2023. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |

Middlesbrough started the match confidently, with left-back Ryan Giles posing a threat on multiple occasions. However, they almost paid the price early on when Viktor Gyokeres capitalized on Tommy Smith’s misguided back-pass. Fortunately for Middlesbrough, goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a fine save to deny Gyokeres.

READ: Luton Town comeback against Sunderland to reach play-off final

As the game progressed, Coventry gradually gained momentum and won a series of free-kicks. Defender Kyle McFadzean missed a chance to score when he headed high over the goal from Hamer’s cross in the 17th minute. With Liam Kelly and Ben Sheaf making an impact in midfield, there was little to separate the two teams.

Coventry’s physical approach resulted in challenges on Chuba Akpom and Cameron Archer, causing both players to feel the force of their opponents. Referee David Coote eventually booked Callum Doyle for a clumsy challenge on Akpom. Just before halftime, Jake Bidwell bravely blocked Marcus Forss’ shot, and Darragh Lenihan’s header was easily saved by Ben Wilson. The tie remained evenly poised at the break.

Coventry returned to the second half with renewed energy, led by Jamie Allen orchestrating play behind lone striker Gyokeres. However, Allen missed a golden opportunity from close range after Gyokeres and Sheaf took advantage of Akpom’s mistake in the 50th minute.

It was Coventry who broke the deadlock when Sheaf capitalized on Giles’ wayward pass, finding Gyokeres, who evaded Steffen’s challenge. Hamer then took charge, evading Marcus Forss and firing a shot into the top corner.

Hamer had a chance to score his second goal with 15 minutes remaining, but his free-kick struck the crossbar with Steffen beaten, keeping Middlesbrough’s hopes alive.

Despite a late flurry of attacks, including a disallowed goal by substitute Matt Crooks, Middlesbrough couldn’t force extra time, ultimately ending their promotion aspirations.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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