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Middlesbrough V Brentford
Friday 15th May. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 1
An absorbing Championship semi-final play-off first leg contest at Griffin Park ended in the most dramatic circumstances as Middlesbrough’s Fernando Amorebieta popped up with an injury time stunner to give the visitors a crucial 2-1 lead heading back to this all-important return clash at the Riverside.
The hosts will be confident, but a one-goal advantage isn’t enough to rule Brentford out completely – especially as away goals don’t count. We could be in for an equally encapsulating second leg.
Who will book their place at Wembley?
Aitor Karanka will be delighted with substitute Amorebieta’s game-changer but Boro aren’t home and dry just yet and the gaffer will demand full concentration in front of a packed home crowd.
Middlesbrough should be confident on home soil, where they’ve lost just one of 20 games since September. Moreover, a healthy head-to-record of three wins over the Bees this term will provide another source of inspiration for the hosts.
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Goals have been a real strong point for a side containing the likes of Kike, Patrick Bamford and Jelle Vossen; if those players are presented with chances on Friday night then it’s difficult to see Boro failing with their bid to reach the May 25th final.
It is advantage Boro but Brentford still might have something to say about this one.
Can Bees Sting Back?
The Bees were left deflated by last week’s injury time defeat but it’s only half-time in this semi-final and Mark Warburton’s men must believe in themselves heading into this second leg. They’ve got nothing to lose, which could make Brentford a dangerous opponent for Boro.
Brentford have been scoring regularly in recent weeks and that should lend the visitors a degree of confidence as they look to defy the odds at the Riverside. Top scorer Andre Gray found the target yet again in last week’s first leg and his firepower could be key to helping the Bees sting Boro.
With no away goals rule to worry about, scoring first could be huge for Brentford as it would level the scores and also hand them the momentum.
Manager Warburton won’t be staying at Griffin Park, regardless of what happens over the next week or so, but that won’t stop him from wanting the dream finale to his Brentford tenure. Progression to the final looks unlikely for the Bees, but we’ve seen much stranger things happen in football.
It should be another cracking encounter.
Middlesbrough V Brentford Betting Tips
Unsurprisingly, Middlesbrough are firm favourites to qualify and are expected to win this second leg at odds of 17/20 with Bet365. Even a draw (5/2) would be good enough for the hosts, whilst Brentford are priced 16/5 to cause an upset.
The impact of that last-gasp winner at Griffin Park cannot be overstated and that has certainly put the tie in Boro’s favour. We cannot see them letting it slip at the Riverside.
Karanka won’t want to sit back on such a slender advantage and we can see the hosts utilising the crowd’s energy to notch a couple more goals here to confirm their place at Wembley.
[quote_center][/quote_center]Middlesbrough to score over 1.5 goals @ Evens with Coral
If Boro are to grab the win then there’s a good chance on-loan star Bamford will be the man to break the deadlock and we’re finding it hard to turn down odds of 9/2.
The young striker has scored the opening goal on 11 occasions this term, back him to complete the dozen as Boro head to the play-off final.
[quote_center][/quote_center]Patrick Bamford to score first @ 9/2 with Bet365