Middlesbrough 2 Huddersfield Town 0: Karanka relieved as Town are kept at bay

Dimi Konstantopoulos, seen thwarting Sheffield Wednesday, excelled for Middlesbrough against Huddersfield (Picture: Steve Ellis).

Dimi Konstantopoulos, seen thwarting Sheffield Wednesday, excelled for Middlesbrough against Huddersfield (Picture: Steve Ellis).

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Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka praised Dimi Konstantopoulos after the goalkeeper helped keep their promotion challenge ticking over.

Lee Tomlin scored twice in the second half as Huddersfield Town’s 29-year wait for a win on Teesside continued.

But Karanka singled out Konstantopoulos for his performance after the Greek pulled off three outstanding saves late on.

He first managed to get a hand to former Boro man Jacob Butterfield’s stinging shot before twice denying Town striker Nahki Wells.

Karanka said: “He’s the type of player I would have liked to have in my squad during my playing career.

“He’s the kind of player who is always perfect. It’s easy to say this now because he was brilliant.

“You can forget he was the fourth goalkeeper when we 
arrived here. He just worked hard in training every day and kept supporting the other players.

“He was the second goalkeeper when Shay Given arrived last year and he always supported him.

“He was the second goalkeeper when Tomas (Mejias) arrived last summer and he always supported him.

“So for me, I am very pleased to see him play and do very well for us.”

With Championship promotion rivals Bournemouth, Ipswich, Brentford and Watford all winning, it was important Boro bagged all three points at the Riverside – but it was touch and go, with Town pressing late on.

Huddersfield’s away form remains a major concern for manager Chris Powell, but he was encouraged by the way his side responded to going behind.

“It was the sort of away performance that I’ve been looking for,” he said. “Once they got the first goal, we opened up and took the game to Middlesbrough. The response was excellent.

“We hit the post, their goalkeeper made two very good saves, another was cleared off the line and on another day we could have had a penalty.

“The result was tough to take against a side with ambitions to go up. They have good players and have spent good money, but we more than matched them. On another day we could have had a point. It’s good that we know we can match teams in this league.”

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas, Gibson, Ayala, Friend; Leadbitter, Clayton, Tomlin, Bamford (Reach 74), Adomah; Garcia (Vossen 84). Unused substitutes: Ledesma, Husband, Whitehead, Omeruo, Mejias.

Huddersfield Town: Smithies, Smith, Hudson, Lynch, Robinson (Lolley 81); Hogg (Peltier 46), Coady, Butterfield, Scannell; Vaughan (Gobern 24), Wells. Unused: Dixon, Billing, Allinson, Majewski.

Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).

Man of the match: Dimi Konstantopoulos.

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