Middlesbrough responded excellently from last week’s home defeat to Fulham, coming out on top 3-0 against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Tony Pulis made two changes for the trip down to London, switching out both strikers from the defeat to the Cottagers last weekend. Martin Braithwaite and Rudy Gestede dropped to the bench, making way for Britt Assombalonga and Patrick Bamford.
The opening exchanges brought little to no chances for either side, and it wasn’t until the 24th minute when Boro drew first blood. Ben Gibson flicked on Adama Traore’s corner, and Dani Ayala was waiting at the back post to head home.
Darnell Furlong had a chance to equalise just before Boro’s second, heading just wide of Darren Randolph’s post.
But before QPR could recover, Middlesbrough doubled their lead ten minutes later. Left-back George Friend picked the ball up 25 yards out and hit an unstoppable effort. Alex Smithies in the Rangers goal couldn’t get near the shot, as it swerved up and the top corner.
QPR boss Ian Holloway made two substitutions at half-time, bringing on front man Matt Smith and Osayi Bright-Samuel. But neither had the impact that Holloway was hoping for.
The win was sealed with Adama Traore’s first Middlesbrough goal. He hit an angled shot under the goalkeeper after a clever flick-on from Rudy Gestede in the latter stages of the game. Every man in a red shirt was celebrating with Traore after slotting home his first goal in English football.
It was everything that Traore deserved, as he put in a Man-of-the-Match display from minute one.
The important away win puts Middlesbrough closer to the play-off picture, sitting just two points from sixth position in eighth. QPR’s defeat leaves them in 16th place just eight points from the relegation zone.
Boro face Sheffield Wednesday at the Riverside next in the Championship, whereas Queens Park Rangers travel to Bristol City.