Middlesbrough 3-0 Leeds United: Boro make it seven wins in a row
Last Updated: 27/09/15 5:23pm
Middlesbrough made it seven wins on the bounce in all competitions, beating an error-strewn Leeds United 3-0 to move within a point of the Championship summit.
Uwe Rosler's men were made to pay for comical defensive errors - including a diving header into his own net from Giuseppe Bellusci - and Boro took full advantage.
David Nugent got the home team rolling on two minutes, hammering home from close range before Bellusci headed past his own goalkeeper just before the break.
Mirco Antenucci thought he had halved the deficit on 55 minutes but his goal was ruled out controversially for offside and the hosts extended their lead late on as Diego Fabbrini scored after Sol Bamba's slip.
The win means Aitor Karanka's side - who have made their best start to a season since 1994/95 - are now just one point behind league leaders Brighton, while Leeds remain 14th.
Boro started like a team full of confidence and Nugent opening the scoring in the third minute.
Fernando Amorebieta's searching long ball found Nugent, who flicked on for Cristhian Stuani.
The winger ran on to the ball, before beating Charlie Taylor twice and sending a perfect cross to the back post, where Nugent controlled and powered an effort beyond Marco Silvestri.
Leeds came back into the game, though, and almost levelled through Antenucci.
The Italian linked up superbly with Gaetano Berardi, only to hit straight at Dimi Konstantopoulos after working a shooting angle.
Yet Leeds' good spell did not bring reward and they were hit by a sucker punch in the 32nd minute.
George Friend raced down the left and sent in a pinpoint delivery to the near post, with Bellusci's wild diving header flying into the net.
The visitors thought they had equalised when Berardi's long-range volley found its way to Antenucci, who finished neatly.
However, a long consultation between referee Neil Swarbrick and his linesman ensued before the latter retrospectively raised the flag.
Leeds still looked threatening, though, and nearly found a way through when Konstantopoulos saved smartly from Antenucci's header.
But the wind was permanently knocked out of their sails after Bamba's costly fall, which left Fabbrini to round Silvestri and complete the scoring.
Leeds boss Uwe Rosler:
"The referee had a poor day. He got two major decisions wrong. Stuani should not have been on the field and obviously the goal too.
"He [the linesman] told me he had to ask the referee so he wasn't sure. How can you give offside when you're not sure? He has to be 100 per cent sure. It was the turning point in the game. You can't even be sure watching on TV."
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka:
"I don't think [the goal incident] is something that would have changed the game. I don't think the referee was important for the outcome of the game.
"I don't think the score is a reflection of the game. But the main thing is that we have won and we have another three points on the table. We are only in September and we have to keep going."