Boro stars rejoice after win
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Middlesbrough's stars could not contain their excitement at reaching the Uefa Cup final.
Massimo Maccarone, George Boateng, Stewart Downing and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink were ecstatic after Middlesbrough booked their place in the Uefa Cup final.
Steve McClaren's side were up against it after two early goals left them 3-0 down on aggregate to Steaua Bucharest, but the North East outfit staged yet another remarkable comeback.
Boro came back against all the odds against Basel in the quarter finals and repeated the feat against their Romanian counterparts with Maccarone (2), Mark Viduka and Chris Riggott all netting.
"I can't believe it. It is incredible," said Italian hero Maccarone to ITV 4.
Midfielder Boateng revealed Maccarone's first goal gave Boro hope following a disastrous start at The Riverside.
"It was just hard work in the second half. We had to find a way to win this game," said Boateng.
"After it went to 2-0 it was very difficult to climb the big mountain but when we came back and got the goal the belief started growing and in the last 15 minutes we could see they were tiring."
Hasselbaink revealed just how deep his relationship with match-winner Maccarone goes following the Italian's brace against Steaua.
"Massimo, I love him until I die," said a delighted Hasselbaink. "We had to do it the hard way.
"It's unbelievable. We are in the final and we have to go for it in the final."
Downing was a key figure for Boro on the night setting up three of their goals, including supplying the cross for Maccarone's last-gasp winner.
The winger said: "We've done it once, we'll do it again, we like to do it the hard way.
"It was against a good team as well but we deserved it. We were brilliant on the night."