Middlesbrough 0-2 Huddersfield: Terriers maintain pressure on automatic promotion rivals Bournemouth thanks to goals from Naby Sarr and Jordan Rhodes
- Promotion-chasing Huddersfield beat Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium
- Naby Sarr opened the scoring with a header from close-range after 41 minutes
- Jordan Rhodes doubled the lead with a composed finish on the hour mark
Carlos Corberan is refusing to dream of the Premier League despite leading unfancied Huddersfield to the verge of the play-offs.
Victory at home to Barnsley on Friday will guarantee a top-six finish for the third-placed Terriers, who still have outside hopes of catching Bournemouth after totally out-playing promotion rivals Middlesbrough.
Town boss Corberan said: ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen for the rest of the season. We’ve got 73 points and our target is to finish with maximum points from our final three games.
Naby Sarr put Huddersfield ahead through a close-range header four minutes before the break
Jordan Rhodes doubled the Terriers’ lead with a composed finish on the hour mark
‘I’ll only believe it when it’s mathematically confirmed, there are still nine points to play for and we have to keep a strong mentality for the rest of the season. I’m proud to lead these players, there’s a real togetherness between them and the fans and I’ve always been confident we’d do well this season.’
There are strong echoes of five years ago when David Wagner led the unheralded Terriers into the Premier League, and Corberan takes huge credit for turning round a side expected to struggle this season.
They are already 24 points better off than their tally for the 20-21 campaign, and overcame the absence of top scorer Danny Ward and key defender Levi Colwill, with their replacements scoring the goals to help seal a first-ever victory at the Riverside Stadium .
Shortly before half-time, former Middlesbrough striker Jordan Rhodes peeled away to the back post to redirect a Sorba Thomas free-kick for Naby Sarr to nod home his second goal in as many games from close range.
Former Middlesbrough striker Rhodes (centre) haunted his former club on Monday
Huddersfield maintained pressure on second-placed Bournemouth for automatic promotion
Rhodes hadn’t previously found the net against the Teessiders and hadn’t scored here in his 17 months at the club. The 32-year-old rectified that on the hour when he was allowed to pick his spot with a calm finish after being put through by Lewis O’Brien.
Victory would have seen Middlesbrough join Town in the play-offs, but their form has deserted them at the wrong time after taking one point from the last 12. Riley McGree curled a late effort against the bar but they produced little else to trouble an organized and committed defensive display from Huddersfield.
They are without a goal in their last four games, and manager Chris Wilder said: ‘It’s a struggle for me to hide my emotions. It’s a hugely disappointing result and the timing of this run isn’t great.
‘Huddersfield are a really good side and deserve to be where they are. The first goal is always really important in a game like this and we’d warned the players about what they’d do from the set-piece but they chose not to take notice.’
Carlos Corberan’s hopes of an automatic promotion were kept alive with the win at Riverside
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.