Middlesbrough 1-1 Stoke: Xherdan Shaqiri's free-kick cancels out Alvaro Negredo's opener
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By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 14/08/16 11:48am
Xherdan Shaqiri's 67th minute free-kick denied Middlesbrough victory on their return to the Premier League as Stoke secured a 1-1 draw at the Riverside.
After a seven-year absence from the top flight, Aitor Karanka's side made the perfect start with new signing Alvaro Negredo heading home from close range in the 11th minute.
The hosts went close to doubling their advantage just before the break when Gaston Ramirez's shot rebounded off the post, but it was Stoke who hit back in the second half through Shaqiri.
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The Switzerland international wrong-footed Victor Valdes with a superb free-kick in the 67th minute to peg Boro back and seal an opening day point for Mark Hughes' side.
Karanka handed Premier League debuts to four of his summer signings with Valdes, Antonio Barragan and Marten De Roon joining Negredo in Middlesbrough's starting line-up.
And it did not take long for one of new boys to make an impact with Negredo heading home after Ramirez nodded Albert Adomah's cross back across goal.
It was not such good news for De Roon, who was replaced by Adam Forshaw in the 19th minute after picking up an injury, but Boro continued to boss proceedings against Hughes' side.
The visitors, who left new signing Joe Allen on the bench, finally created an opening on the half-hour mark when Marko Arnautovic glanced a header goalwards, but Valdes was in position to make a comfortable save.
Boro continued to threaten as Ramirez, who moved to the Riverside on a permanent deal following a successful loan spell last season, ghosted past Ryan Shawcross before firing a low left-footed shot against the post.
Ramirez was then needed at the other end, heading off the line from Shaqiri's corner before the Switzerland international fired wide after Arnautovic's pass deflected into his path.
Stoke continued to struggle in front of goal in the second-half with Arnautovic volleying well wide after bursting onto Erik Pieters' 58th-minute throw-in.
And the home side should probably have extended their lead on the hour when Adomah burst clear down the right but could only pick out Stoke defender Phil Bardsley, with Negredo and Stewart Downing in the penalty area.
Arnautovic continued to threaten, but struck the corner flag with a wild 64th-minute effort.
However, Shaqiri finally made an impact with 23 minutes remaining when he curled a fine free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner past the dive of Valdes.
Philipp Wollscheid was booked after appearing to lash out at Ramirez, while Adomah fired wide and Stewart Downing headed straight at Shay Given as the game finished all square.
Middlesbrough: Valdes (7), Nsue (6), Barragan (7), Gibson (7), Friend (7), Clayton (6), De Roon (6), Adomah (7), Ramirez (8), Downing (6), Negredo (7).
Subs used: Forshaw (6), Nugent (6).
Stoke: Given (6), Bardsley (6), Shawcross (6), Wollscheid (6), Pieters (6), Whelan (6), Imbula (6), Shaqiri (7), Bojan (6), Arnautovic (7), Diouf (6).
Subs used: Allen (6), Walters (6).
Man of the Match: Gaston Ramirez