Boro Looking For A Hero!

Last updated : 30 April 2009 By Boro Mad
Steve Agnew believes that the time is right for a hero to emerge.

Agnew: "The players feel that there are goals in this team even though we haven't scored as many as we can.

"Someone might start to put that right. It could be Afonso Alves, Stewie Downing, Tuncay, Marlon King.

"They are all capable of suddenly hitting goals, as are others, and that is what we need. The game against Hull was the first time this season that we have scored three in a game. But we know we have the players who can hit that form.

"There is a huge psychological advantage in taking the lead in a Premiership game.

"Those goals against United will be in Afonso's mind on Saturday, and they will be in United's.

"Defenders and the goalkeeper remember playing against strikers who score against them, and if it puts United on the back foot so much the better.

"He has not scored as many goals as we would have liked. Chances have dropped to him, but he has not taken them, but we see every day in training that he can hit the net.

"All the players are in good spirits and focussed. We know that three points on Saturday will take us out of the bottom three because the other teams play later."


Manchester United 5 Tottenham 2
Manchester United 2 Portsmouth 0
Man Utd 0 Everton 0 (Everton win 4-2 on pens)
Porto 0 Manchester United 1
Sunderland 1 Manchester United 2
Manchester United 2 Porto 2
Manchester United 3 Aston Villa 2
Fulham 2 Manchester United 0
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 4
Manchester United 2 Inter Milan 0


BORO: Schwarzer, Young, Wheater, Pogatetz, Taylor, O'Neil, Boateng, Arca, Downing, Alves (Sanli 77), Aliadiere (Johnson 90).
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Cattermole, Grounds.

MAN UTD: Van der Sar, O'Shea (Hargreaves 67), Ferdinand (Pique 69), Brown, Evra, Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Tevez (Park 63), Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Anderson.

Att: 33,952

Afonso Alves sent an icy blast through Manchester United's hopes of wrapping up the title with an excellent double to earn Middlesbrough a share of the spoils.
The result sees United's lead over Chelsea down to three points - and they still have to go to Stamford Bridge.
Gareth Southgate's side were well worth the point at a snow-swept Riverside, and could even have stolen a late winner.
United could point to several chances apart from Cristiano Ronaldo's 37th goal of the campaign and an equaliser from Wayne Rooney, but there was an unusual frailty in defence.
Perhaps the absence of Nemanja Vidic upset the balance - John O'Shea was never comfortable and Rio Ferdinand also limped off in the second half.
The biggest crowd of the season at the Riverside witnessed a hugely-entertaining encounter, Alves warming things up with a promising early run into the United penalty box.
The home fans were left cold however when their marking completely went to pieces and United scored a 10th-minute opener.
First Michael Carrick found himself in the clear at the rear of the area to pick up possession from corner, and then Ronaldo drifted away from his marker to fire home his cross from inside the six-yard box.
Alves showed a couple of flashes, including a decent downward header, as Boro tried to reply then Ryan Giggs hit the side-netting after some stylish interplay between Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
Jeremie Aliadiere was then guilty of a horrendous miss after Middlesbrough broke at speed, the French striker pulling the ball wide from a one-on-one position.
Afterwards, United players complained bitterly that referee Mike Riley did not halt play to allow Patrice Evra to receive treatment - van der Sar even had to push Ronaldo away from the match official. Riley, though, was following the FA's rules to the letter and Evra was soon back on his feet anyway.
Ronaldo then showed human blood does flow through his veins after all. A thrilling run saw the Portuguese winger leave Gary O'Neil trailing in his wake but when he cut into the penalty box his finish for once lacked composure and was sliced wide.
Alves won a free-kick against Ferdinand 30 yards out and took it himself. It was a terrific effort two, curling and dipping wickedly but straight at van der Sar, who was up quickly again to claw away the follow-up header from Emmanuel Pogatetz.
But the Brazilian was not to be denied again and 10 minutes before the break he scored an excellent equaliser.
Gary O'Neil's long pass from the right caught United ball-watching, Aliadiere's flick-header took it into Alves' path and he kept his cool to lift the ball over the sliding van der Sar with his left foot.
Boro came agonisingly close to taking the lead when George Boateng found Stewart Downing on his own at the far-post but van der Sar was out like lightning to block the shot.
Ronaldo was then furious again when a powerful strike appeared to be blocked by Andrew Taylor's arm - Riley only awarded a corner.
Alves' equaliser had been the first goal conceded by United since February 23 so when he put Boro ahead in the 56th minute, the majority of the 33,952 crowd went mad with excitement.
Again Aliadiere played a part, the ball coming off his head into Alves stride and the Brazilian this time finished expertly with his right foot.
United were well and truly rocked and Alves nearly sealed the perfect hat-trick but his header struck Ferdinand's knee.
Rooney, who had been out of sorts all match, was booked for following through on Mark Schwarzer. Sir Alex Ferguson had seen enough and took off O'Shea, pushed Wes Brown to centre-back and sent on Owen Hargreaves.
Downing then embarked on a penetrating run that saw him outpace two defenders but his drive from a tight angle only found the side-netting.
Rooney, who had looked close to boiling point, finally found an outlet to his frustration when substitute Park Ji-Sung beat Taylor and centred for the England striker to clip home from close range off Pogatetz's leg.
With 10 minutes to go, Alves departed to a standing ovation as Southgate sent on Tuncay to hunt for a winner.
As the clock ran down the tension increased and both sides had chances to seal it in a frantic finish.
First, van der Sar pulled off a diving save to deny Aliadiere then Rooney dragged his effort wide from a threatening position.
Tuncay looked poised to steal it in injury time after a brilliant turn - but van der Sar once again proved United's saviour.


Saturday 02nd May 2009
Chelsea v Fulham 15.00
Man City v Blackburn 15.00
Middlesbrough v Man Utd 12.45
Portsmouth v Arsenal 15.00
Stoke City v West Ham 15.00
Tottenham v West Brom 15.00
Wigan Athletic v Bolton 15.00

Sunday 03rd May 2009
Liverpool v Newcastle 13.30
Sunderland v Everton 16.00

Monday 04th May 2009
Aston Villa v Hull City 20.00

Saturday 09th May 2009
Blackburn v Portsmouth 15.00
Bolton v Sunderland 15.00
Everton v Tottenham 15.00
Fulham v Aston Villa 15.00

Sunday 10th May 2009
Arsenal v Chelsea 16.00
Man Utd v Man City 13.30

Monday 11th May 2009
Newcastle v Middlesbrough 20.00

Wednesday 13th May 2009
Wigan Athletic v Man Utd 20.00

Saturday 16th May 2009
Bolton v Hull City 15.00
Everton v West Ham 15.00
Man Utd v Arsenal 12.45
Middlesbrough v Aston Villa 15.00
Newcastle v Fulham 15.00
Stoke City v Wigan Athletic 15.00
Tottenham v Man City 15.00

Sunday 17th May 2009
Chelsea v Blackburn 16.00
West Brom v Liverpool 13.30

Monday 18th May 2009
Portsmouth v Sunderland 20.00

Sunday 24th May 2009
Arsenal v Stoke City 16.00
Aston Villa v Newcastle 16.00
Blackburn v West Brom 16.00
Fulham v Everton 16.00
Hull City v Man Utd 16.00
Liverpool v Tottenham 16.00
Man City v Bolton 16.00
Sunderland v Chelsea 16.00
West Ham v Middlesbrough 16.00
Wigan Athletic v Portsmouth 16.00