Coventry Vs Middlesbrough Ends Goalless In Tense Championship Play-Off First Leg

The Championship play-off semi-final first leg between Sky Blues and Black Cats was far from a classic
13:58, 14 May 2023

There’s everything still to play for in Coventry and Middlesbrough’s Championship play-off semi-final following a goalless draw at a packed out CBS Arena in the first-leg on Sunday afternoon.

It will not join the pantheon of all-time classic play-off contests anytime soon, but that shouldn't come as a surprise.  

The two sides met on the final day of the season a week ago, with Cameron Archer levelling up for Boro after a Gustavo Hamer rocket had earlier opened the scoring. It was a tight affair at Riverdale and that caginess continued today, with both sides naming unchanged starting elevens. 

After a dominant opening, the visitors had the first real chance of the tie when Golden Boot winner Chuba Akpom found himself through on goal, only to be denied by a big hand from Ben Wilson which saw the ball loop onto the bar. 

Following a spell of total control from Boro, Coventry began to get something of a foothold in the game, but Akpom had the ball in the back of the net five minutes before the break when slipped in by Isaiah Jones. Fortunately for the home faithful, the flag was up for offside. 

The atmosphere amongst Coventry’s raucous support ratcheted up in the second half, spurring their side on considerably, and it was the hosts that seemed the most likely to break the deadlock. Ben Hamer found space on the right before deciding to have a crack at goal, which fizzled harmlessly wide.

Approaching the final 15 minutes, the nerves began to settle in once again and the contest reverted back to its cagey beginnings, with both sides appearing content with the scores level heading into Wednesday’s second-leg on Teesside. 

Tense, turgid and tough to watch, even for the neutral, we can only hope for some much-needed fireworks when these sides meet for a third time this month. 

On Saturday, sixth-placed Sunderland came from behind to put themselves in pole position for a place in the final at Wembley on May 27, beating Luton Town, who finished third, 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. The pair collide again at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening.

Coventry are 3/1 to beat Middlesbrough in the second leg with Betfred

18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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