Middlesbrough close on league toppers Burnley

Championship leaders could only manage a goalless draw at home as both nearest challengers won their matches


Afp April 06, 2016
PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: The race to be crowned champions of English football's second-tier Championship took a new twist on Tuesday when Burnley's lead at the top of the table was cut to a point.

Championship leaders Burnley could only manage a goalless draw at home to Cardiff as nearest challengers Middlesbrough and Brighton both won.

The Clarets now lead Boro, who have a game in hand, by a solitary point, with third-placed Brighton two points off the summit.

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Only the top two clubs at the end of the regular season are guaranteed a place in the lucrative Premier League, with the next four teams having to battle it out via a series of play-off games for the third and final promotion place.

Burnley did extend their unbeaten league run to 17 games on Tuesday, but only after Kenneth Zohore's effort with three minutes left for visitors Cardiff hit the crossbar at Turf Moor.

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And goalkeeper David Marshall then made two saves in stoppage-time to ensure Sean Dyche's table-toppers finished with a point.

Meanwhile, Gaston Ramirez was the star of the show for northeast side Middlesbrough in a 3-0 win at home to Huddersfield Town.

Ramirez, on loan from Premier League side Southampton, won the penalty that was converted by Boro captain Grant Leadbetter before, moments later, he scored himself to make it 2-0.

The 25-year-old Ramirez put the result beyond all doubt with his second goal of the game, a brilliant free-kick, 13 minutes from time.

Brighton maintained their charge with a 2-1 win away to Birmingham City at St Andrew's.

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty gave the home side a 16th-minute lead, but headers either side of half-time from Connor Goldson and Lewis Dunk saw the Seagulls secure victory.

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