Ipswich Town or Norwich City will face Middlesbrough in Championship Play-Off final
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Middlesbrough booked their place in this season’s Championship Play-Off final after defeating Brentford 3-0 on Friday night, and 5-1 on aggregate.
The Teesiders, who finished third in the regular season, won the first leg 2-1 at Griffin Park and made sure of their progress at the Riverside, thanks to goals from Lee Tomlin, Kike and Albert Adomah.
Aitor Karanka’s men will now face the winners of Saturday’s East Anglian showdown at Carrow Road between Norwich City and Ipswich Town, at Wembley, on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25.
Boro, who will attempt to end a six-year exile from the Premier League, went into the game having done the double over Brentford in the regular season, 4-0 at home and 1-0 away.
Boro winger Adomah gave Bees left-back Jake Bidwell a torrid time while on the opposite side of the pitch, George Friend had his hands full with Jota.
The home side opened the scoring with 23 minutes gone. Adam Clayton sent a raking crossfield ball out to Adomah, who cut inside Bidwell before squaring for Tomlin to clip a shot past keeper David Button with the help of a slight deflection off Harlee Dean.
Brentford might have been level three minutes before the break, but neither Andre Gray not Jonathan Douglas could get a meaningful touch to Moses Odubajo’s cross.
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Kike only just failed to connect with Adomah’s driven 47th-minute cross, but quite how Gray did not get his foot to Odubajo’s equally firm ball seconds later was a mystery to Bees’ boss Mark Warburton.
But Kike made no mistake when presented with his opportunity, smashing home a second after the ball had ricocheted kindly into his path following Jelle Vossen’s surging 55th-minute run into the box.
The visitors battled gamely for a way back into the game, but Boro cemented the win with 12 minutes remaining when Adomah exchanged passes with Tomlin and blasted home off the underside of the crossbar.
For Bees’ chief Warburton, the defeat is likely to be his last in charge of the club, the Londoners’ head coach having elected to depart at the end of the current campaign.