John Mikel Obi on Friday afternoon captained his EFL Championship side Middlesbrough (Boro) to a 1-0 victory over Stoke City who had Mikel’s Nigerian teammate Oghenekaro Etebo on for ninety minutes.
Mikel was captaining Boro for a third successive game and his side made it three wins out of three in those games, when Britt Assombalonga scored for Tony Pulis’ men in the third minute of the game decided at Boro’s Riverside Stadium.
It was Mikel who built the foundation for the game’s only goal by Assombalonga. The Olympics bronze medallist found Johnny Howson with a brilliant pass down the flanks which the winger crossed first time for Assombalonga who finished from inside the box.
The visitors grew stronger into the game and indeed threatened to pull level at some point but the hosts held on for the important points with able guidance from Mikel.
Dominic Shaw is a writer with Teeside Live and he captions some of Mikel’s contributions in the game, especially in the first half.
“In fairness to the visitors, they’ve responded fairly well without creating any meaningful chances. They’ve had a couple of corners and free-kicks that Boro have dealt with well. John Obi Mikel has had an excellent start, making that pass for the goal and a couple of crucial interceptions. Ryan Shotton has had a couple of nervy moments but Aden Flint has tidied up well. Jonny Howson very busy down the right,” wrote Shaw.
The win takes Boro back to sixth on the log, the final playoff spot after Bristol City were held by Reading earlier in the day. Up next for Mikel and his Boro side is a trip to Nottingham Forest on Easter Monday.
Picture: Stoke Sentinel