Middlesbrough travelled to the Principality to face Cardiff City in mixed form. They had three wins and three losses in their last six Championship games.

Middlesbrough sat 10th in the table ahead of kick-off against a Bluebirds side that was faltering and that sat just above the relegation places on 11 points.

Boro fans would have been hoping that their side could take advantage of a Cardiff City outfit who’d lost their last six games.

It was a game where a very organised Boro side took the play to Mick McCarthy’s side early on. The first half saw yellow cards for the Bluebirds’ Marlon Pack (28′) and Mark McGuinness (34′) in a half where they shaded the possession.

However, it was visitors Middlesbrough who took the lead in that half, Andraz Sporar (35′ pen) converting from the spot. This gave the Slovenian his third goal of the current campaign.

The second half saw more of the same, Cardiff edging the possession with defender Aden Flint’s downward header bouncing up and hitting the bar.

Despite having the ball more, it was Boro who were more dangerous, Martin Payero (74′) scoring from a Sporar assist.

That’s how the game ended – a 2-0 defeat for Cardiff City. It was a backs-to-the-wall display for the Bluebirds and one where Boro outshot them 21-9. It was a result that lifted Warnock’s charges into 7th place ahead of this afternoon’s round of games.

Here are three Middlesbrough players who did the Teessiders proud in a good win over a stumbling Cardiff side.

Sol Bamba – WhoScored rating 8.16

Bamba is recovering from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and again put in a commanding display for Neil Warnock’s Teesside outfit. He was a rock at the centre of a Middlesbrough back three that held Cardiff at bay.

The veteran defender won three tackles and made a game-leading 14 clearances to help ensure Boro kept a clean sheet. The 36-year-old was also dominant in the air, winning seven headers in the ten that he contested.

Andraz Sporar – WhoScored rating 7.91

The goal and an assist were always going to be the headline grabbers of Sporar’s game against Cardiff City. However, his contribution was much more than just that.

He worked himself into position for three shots and was a constant thorn in the side for Cardiff’s defenders. He also was accurate (73%) and despite only completing 11 passes saw three of these completed passes create chances for teammates.

Martín Payero – WhoScored rating 7.53

23-year-old attacking midfielder Payero scored his first goal for Boro this afternoon – a goal that put them 2-0 up. A lot of the ball (5.5%) went through the young Argentinian, who made 38 touches in the game.

He was accurate (72%) in his distribution, 18 of his passes finding their intended target. He also completed

Data derived from the Cardiff City vs Middlesbrough match profile on the WhoScored website.