ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Swansea City 0
LONDON • Perhaps it was inevitable that a must-win game for both clubs would end this way.
Neither Swansea nor Middlesbrough had enough about them yesterday to pick up the victory they so badly needed.
Swansea had conceded 63 goals before the visit of their fellow strugglers, but even the home side's defensive failings could not prompt an improvement from goal-shy Middlesbrough. Boro have now drawn 0-0 on a league-high six occasions.
They were hanging on in the final 15 minutes, yet Steve Agnew's side so nearly stole three points in stoppage-time, when Rudy Gestede profligately headed wide.
Swansea looked the more accomplished team, but they were severely handicapped by the absence of their leading scorer Fernando Llorente.
Without him, they lacked an aerial threat and far too many crosses came to nothing.
When they did find a way through, Spaniard Victor Valdes showed why he is still an outstanding goalkeeper at 35.
The former Barcelona stopper made a number of important saves, including a terrific one-handed stop to repel Gylfi Sigurdsson's free kick.
In truth the real winners from this game were Hull, who are only one point behind Swansea and face Middlesbrough at home on Wednesday.
Swansea host Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday and will hope that Llorente can return to give them the cutting edge.
The draw pulled 17th-placed Swansea up to 28 points, one clear of the relegation zone, while Middlesbrough, in 19th, move up to 23 points, five off safety.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS