A late Fernando Amorebieta goal earned Middlesbrough a 2-1 win over Brentford in the First Leg of their Play-Off Semi-Final at Griffin Park on Friday night.
Alan Judge almost broke the deadlock on quarter of an hour but Boro goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos got his angles correct to push his vicious strike onto the post.
But it was the Teesiders who made the breakthrough after 26 minutes when Adam Clayton picked out the unmarked Jelle Vossen who cushioned a header inside the post.
Lee Tomlin and Vossen were then denied by David Button as Boro turned the screw, before James Tarkowski headed over at the other end.
Andre Gray then missed a sitter after the restart when he volleyed over from close range, but he made amends on 54 minutes when he charged down Konstanopoulos before he could clear a loose ball, and it bounced kindly for the Bees striker to roll into the empty net.
Albert Adomah’s excellent effort from distance drew a smart flying save from Button just before the hour mark, with Konstantopoulos making an equally brilliant stop to keep out Jonathan Douglas’ header moments later.
Amorebieta then entered the action on 73 minutes as a replacement for Tomlin and was booked for a foul shortly after his introduction.
But the Venezuelan’s main contribution arrived in the third minute of stoppage time at the end of the game. A corner from the right was headed back into the mix by George Friend, and Amorebieta rifled in a volley that took a nick of Jake Bidwell and nestled in the bottom corner.
Middlesbrough now have a significant advantage going into the Second Leg, which takes place at the Riverside Stadium on Friday evening.
In Greece, Olympiakos signed off their league campaign with a 1-1 draw at Platanias, with Kostas Mitroglou playing the full 90 minutes.
The hosts took the lead on 17 minutes when Anastasios Avlonitis put through his own net, but substitute Franco Jara earned Olympiakos a point with a late equaliser.
The result meant they finished 12 points clear at the top of the Super League, with Mitroglou coming second in the top scorer stakes with 16 goals.
In Germany, Thomas Eisfeld played 77 minutes of VfL Bochum’s 3-1 win at home to Ingolstadt.
They fell behind on 32 minutes through Lukas Hinterseer’s strike, but went into half-time level courtesy of Michael Gregoritsch’s stoppage time penalty.
Mikael Forssell then stepped off the bench to put Bochum in front, before Yusuke Tasaka wrapped things up not long after coming on for Eisfeld. The win moved them up to ninth in the 2. Bundesliga standings.