English Premiership

Goalkeepers on top as Boro, Everton draw

2017-02-11 19:35
Victor Valdes (Getty Images)

London - Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes and his Everton counterpart Joel Robles shared the limelight as their sides played out a 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Saturday.

Valdes saved sharply from the in-form Romelu Lukaku and Ademola Lookman, while Robles produced a stunning late stop to prevent substitute Rudy Gestede giving Boro victory at the Riverside Stadium.

Everton have now gone eight games unbeaten in the league, but after four wins in their previous five games, this was a missed opportunity for Ronald Koeman's side to make up ground on the teams above them.

The Merseyside club remain seventh, while Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough stay 15th, two points above the relegation zone, after an eighth successive league outing without a win.

Koeman made two changes from last weekend's 6-3 win over Bournemouth, with Tom Davies and Idrissa Gueye replacing James McCarthy and Gareth Barry, and Davies quickly caught the eye.

The 18-year-old midfielder with the straggly blond hair had the first sight of goal, but could not fashion an effort on target following good work by Ross Barkley.

On the half hour he won the ball back in midfield and set Lukaku clear on goal, only for Valdes to thwart the Belgium striker -- who scored four times against Bournemouth -- with a save low to his left.

With Everton monopolising possession, Boro were obliged to play on the counter-attack.

They looked poised to exploit a promising breakaway in the 13th minute, but Adam Forshaw failed to pick out either Adama Traore or the recalled Cristhian Stuani with his pass.

Lookman, 19, kept his place in Everton's starting XI and he began to show late in the first half, seeing an effort blocked and then lashing a strike into the side-netting.

Boro posed more of an attacking threat in the second half, Traore bursting past a posse of defenders and flashing a shot wide before Stuani headed straight at Robles.

Everton left-back Leighton Baines was then obliged to clear a header from Ben Gibson off the line.

Valdes came to Boro's rescue again shortly after, saving with his legs after Barkley's cross had sent Lookman scampering towards goal.

But Robles produced the save of the day with three minutes remaining, leaping to palm the ball over the bar from Gestede's emphatic header.

 

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