Bournemouth’s English midfielder Marc Pugh (R) celebrates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Middlesbrough at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on April 22, 2017. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Middlesbrough look destined for the Championship next season after falling 4-0 in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Bournemouth in which they played 70 minutes with ten men.
Tributes were paid at the Vitality Stadium to former Middlesbrough favourite Ugo Ehiogu who died Friday aged just 44 years after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Players from both teams wore black armbands and Ehiogu’s name was chanted before the game by Boro’s travelling supporters.
But memories of the player who helped the club win the League Cup back in 2004 failed to lift the side who played three quarters of the game with ten men after Gaston Ramirez was sent off.
The visitors were already trailing 2-0 when Ramirez saw red on 20 minutes for two bookable offences — one for diving followed by a reckless tackle on Marc Pugh.
Joshua King opened the scoring from close range after just two minutes, before Benik Afobe doubled the hosts account on 16 minutes.
Boro’s best chance of the first half was a Marten De Roon shot which Artur Boruc acrobatically saved.
At the other end of the pitch Boro goalkeeper Brad Guzan denied Bournemouth a third after 58 minutes keeping out a soaring Afobe header.
Pugh marked his 250th league appearance for Bournemouth with their third goal after 65 minutes following a Lewis Cook pass and five minutes later a free-kick was laid off to Charlie Daniels for a fourth.
After Bournemouth left them 19th, and nine points from safety, Middlesbrough have a mountain to climb.
Caretaker manager Steve Agnew’s side are now nine points from safety with just five games to play — Sunderland, Manchester City, Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool.
Bournemouth however look set to continue in the Premier League next season as they sit midtable seven points above the drop zone.