MATCH-WINNER Faris Haroun was thrilled with his second Middlesbrough goal – and was planning to tell clubmate Marvin Emnes all about it today!
The Belgian clinched three important points for Boro with a fine 76th minute finish, bringing down a floated ball from Julio Arca on his chest before slotting past the home keeper David Marshall.
Haroun’s only disappointment was that the injured Emnes was not there to see it!
“We are always joking because I have not scored as many as him since I arrived at the club,” he said.
“It is a pity Marvin was not here but I am sure he will be happy for me. At the moment he has more goals but maybe this was the best one.
“I am not normally a goalscorer – I tend to create more – so it was nice to get my second goal for Middlesbrough.
Boro took the lead when former Paris St Germain forward Bart Ogbeche, in for the injured Emnes, out-muscled Kevin McNaughton and his 25-yard strike took a slight deflection off Mark Hudson to fly past Marshall into the far corner.
Cardiff levelled when Peter Whittingham’s corner was flicked on by Kenny Miller for Ben Turner to steam in and power home at the back post.
Miller was again the provider just a minute before the break when the Scottish striker ran 40 yards and flicked the ball to Aron Gunnarsson, who bravely beat the dive of Steele to prod into an empty net.
But Boro found an equaliser just after the hour mark with a beautifully crafted goal.
Nicky Bailey split Cardiff’s defence and Justin Hoyte squared to hand Scott McDonald a simple tap-in for his sixth goal of the season.
Then the visitors claimed maximum points when Robson and Arca combined to allow Haroun to slot past Marshall and ended Cardiff’s nine-match unbeaten run in the league.
Boro manager Tony Mowbray said: “I’m delighted that we’re going back with the points. The quality we have in the dressing room is evident, and we have only lost three games out of 21 this season so my players have shown resilience, character and spirit.
“We knew we had to match Cardiff’s drive and stand our corner, but I felt like we were going to score in the second half – and thankfully we did. We got the job done.”
Cardiff boss Malky Mackay said: “It was a tough test against a team who were in the Premier League just two years ago, but we are really disappointed because we knew we could have won the game.
“We went behind but we bounced back well with two good goals. But the goals we conceded in the second half were poor. We didn’t pick up runners and track our men and if you don’t do that at this level, then you will get punished.”
Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Hudson, Turner,Taylor, Cowie (Gestede 68),Whittingham,Gunnarsson,Ralls (Kiss 32), Conway (Mason 68),Miller. Subs Not Used: Heaton,Gerrard. Booked: Whittingham,Kiss,Turner,Taylor. Goals: Turner 23,Gunnarsson 44.
Middlesbrough: Steele,Hoyte,Bennett,Bates,Rhys Williams,Bailey, Robson,Arca,Haroun,Ogbeche,McDonald. Subs Not Used: McManus,Hines,Martin,Main,Smallwood. Booked: Arca,Hoyte,Haroun,Robson. Goals: Ogbeche 15,McDonald 60,Haroun 76.
Att: 23,373 Ref: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).