SO FAR, so good.
Middlesbrough continued their tour to the Balkans with an impressive 3-2 win over Croatia Cup finalists NK Varazdin last night.
Boro kicked off their stay with a 1-1 draw against Turkish outfit BB Istanbul on Thursday in Slovenia, where they are based for their pre-season trip.
And last night they made the short journey across the border into Croatia to take on Varazdin. An own goal sent them on their way and while Varazdin fought back at one stage to make it 2-2, skipper Matthew Bates struck the winner for Tony Mowbray’s team 11 minutes from time.
Boro complete their trip tomorrow night against Turkish side Antalyaspor in Dravograd.
Boro were given a good work-out last night by the Croatians at Stadion Adelko Herjavec.
Mowbray’s side went ahead in the 12th minute when Rhys Williams, excelling in the centre of midfield, stormed forward and managed to get the ball across for Scott McDonald.
His pass did not reach the Aussie striker, defender Simek Karlo instead diverting it past his own keeper.
Sixteen minutes later it was 2-0. Jonathan Franks set Justin Hoyte galloping down the right and his cross was turned in by forward Leroy Lita.
However, Varazdin were back in it just two minutes later when Davor Vugrinec was brought down in the box by Danny Coyne and the Croat exacted full revenge when he put the resultant penalty into the keeper’s right corner.
Coyne then saved Boro when he made a smart stop from Dejan Glavica’s effort from a tight angle.
But the goalie was beaten on 52 minutes when sub Mario Sacer’s blockbuster from distance struck the woodwork and rebounded to Marko Trojak who netted with a great finish from a difficult angle.
Boro were not to be denied and Bates scored a superb winner after a one-two with Lee Miller.