Super Eagles captain, Mikel John Obi has praised Middlesbrough’s resilience in recording a hard-fought 2-1 win over Reading at the Riverside Stadium to boost their hopes of a playoff finish, AOIFootball.com reports.
The former Chelsea midfield trojan, who suffered his first defeat as Boro captain on Easter Monday, led the team to their fifth consecutive game as they went in search of their 19th victory of the season.
But their hopes of a bright start was quickly crumbled when Chris Gunter set up Daniel Loader to put the visitors ahead after just 11 minutes to silence the fans at the Riverside.
The lead, however, lasted for just twenty minutes before midfielder Lewis Wing equalised for the host on 31 minutes before they were handed a golden opportunity to go ahead eight minutes later when winger George Saville was fouled in the box.
Britt Assombalonga stepped up and converted the spoken kick to put Middlesbrough 2-1 up going into the break.
The host had to survive a second-half myriad of attacks to preserve their lead as Reading were by far the better side in the second period.
“Important win tonight, we keep believing,” Mikel posted afterwards.
The inspirational midfielder did have another impressive outing with a game rating of 7.0, completing 91% of his passes, winning 7 duels, making two clearance and interception each and also making one key pass in the match.
The result leaves Middlesbrough just outside the playoffs zone on goal difference and they will now need to win their last game against Rotherham next Sunday and hope Derby fail to pick maximum points from their remaining two games to stand a chance of reaching the playoff zone.