Previous
Rapid Vienna
Spartak Moscow
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Villarreal
Rangers
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Lazio
Apollon Limassol
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Marseille
Eintracht Frankfurt
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Besiktas
Sarpsborg FK
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Racing Genk
Malmo FF
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Akhisar Belediyespor
Krasnodar
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Standard Liege
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Dynamo Kiev
FC Astana
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Stade Rennes
Jablonec
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
PAOK Salonika
Chelsea
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Vidi
BATE Borisov
4:55 PM UTC
Game Details
AEK Larnaca
FC Zürich
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Bayer Leverkusen
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Celtic
Rosenborg
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
RB Leipzig
FC Salzburg
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
FC Copenhagen
Zenit St Petersburg
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Slavia Prague
Bordeaux
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Dinamo Zagreb
Fenerbahce
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
Anderlecht
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Arsenal
Vorskla
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Sporting CP
FK Qarabag
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
F91 Dudelange
AC Milan
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Olympiakos
Real Betis
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Next
Sheffield UnitedSheffield United
Aston VillaAston Villa
4
1
FT
Game Details

Middlesbrough 2-0 Birmingham City

MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough
Birmingham CityBirmingham City
2
0
FT
Game Details

Big-money recruit Kike was on the scoresheet as Middlesbrough kicked off their Sky Bet Championship campaign by easing to a 2-0 victory over Birmingham.

Optimism was high on Teesside with manager Aitor Karanka taking charge of his first full campaign having overseen a fine end to last term.

And the home side did not disappoint as goals from Daniel Ayala and £2.8million striker Kike secured the points.

A new-look Birmingham, bolstered by 14 summer recruits having dramatically avoided relegation on goal difference in May, entered the game brimming with confidence after winning all five of their pre-season fixtures.

But Lee Clark's men were found wanting versus better opposition, their woes best summed up towards the end of the first half when Ayala was left unmarked in the area to head his side into the lead.

It was an advantage Middlesbrough never looked like relinquishing, with Kike capping a fine debut when finishing coolly midway through the second period.

The game began in inauspicious fashion for the hosts as Ben Gibson suffered an injury inside 30 seconds and was forced off.

Kenneth Omeruo, the returning Chelsea loanee deemed too unfit to start following his participation in the World Cup for Nigeria, deputised.

Undeterred, Boro pressed forward with confidence and Lee Tomlin sent a fizzing volley just over the crossbar.

Birmingham were suddenly camped inside their own area, Karanka's men again going close as Tomlin's through-ball fed immediate fan favourite Kike - whose first-time effort just missed the target.

The Blues continued to defend resolutely, although Tomlin again nearly unlocked the door when striking narrowly wide.

Middlesbrough finally got a reward for their efforts in the 33rd minute, however, as Darren Randolph failed to keep out Ayala's powerful header from Grant Leadbitter's corner.

Not content with one, Boro continued to press forward and almost doubled their advantage when Albert Adomah hit straight at the onrushing Randolph just after half-time.

The goalkeeper had to be on high alert again moments later, parrying George Friend's header wide as Birmingham almost paid the price for further dreadful set-piece defending.

Suddenly awakened, the visitors began to put together some attacks of their own.

Yet they looked vulnerable to the counter, too, as the increasingly-influential Kike played through Adomah - who failed to beat Randolph from close range for the second time.

Kike would have no such problems when his chance came, slotting a controlled volley into the corner after Tomlin's initial effort had been blocked.

The Spaniard later missed a golden opportunity to add another following a brilliantly worked set-piece with Tomlin, although few in attendance were holding that against him when the full-time whistle sounded.

ends

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.