first_img1 Cristhian Stuani celebrates his goal against Brighton in their 1-1 draw Middlesbrough are back in the Premier League following their 1-1 draw with 10-man Brighton at the Riverside.There will be no perilous play-offs for the hosts this year thanks to Cristhian Stuani, who opened the scoring.Brighton needed to win to seal automatic promotion, but a poor first half display meant it was a big ask to turn things around in the second 45 minutes even after Dale Stephens briefly gave them hope.However, his red card made it difficult in a game Boro should really have had wrapped up by half-time.Supporters were bemused prior to the game when manager Aitor Karanka left Jordan Rhodes, with 16 goals in the Championship this season, on the bench, but it was justified in the end even if Boro could have scored three or four.The Riverside was rocking before kick-off and referee Mike Dean had to be alert as the tackles were flying from the start and it took the hosts just 20 minutes to score.Gaston Ramirez’s looping cross to the back post was knocked down by David Nugent, taking out goalkeeper David Stockdale to leave Stuani with an open goal from three yards.Cue scenes of exuberant celebrations.Stuani almost double the lead five minutes later, but Connor Goldson’s superb goal line block kept his side in it, but Brighton did not appear capable of scoring and it was left to Boro to keep attacking, with Ramirez going close when his chip looped over Stockdale and onto the roof of the net.Brighton were poor, but the saving grace for manager Chris Hughton when Dean blew the whistle for half-time was that it was only 1-0.And there was hope for the visitors in a crazy five-minute spell shortly after the restart when Stephens equalised, but was also sent off.The no.6 was there at the back post to head in Anthony Knockaert’s free-kick before a reckless tackle on Ramirez left the Boro player with a nasty looking cut on his leg and in need of lengthy treatment.In between the chaos, Nugent had a glorious chance to restore the hosts’ lead, but was thwarted in the box by Gordon Greer.As the game headed towards the end, Brighton fans willed their team forward and the home support held their collective breath when it was revealed there would be eight minutes of stoppage time.However, Boro came through it and will join champions Burnley in the Premier League next season, and as Brighton’s players trudged off at full-time with the play-offs to look forward to, jubilant Boro fans engulfed players on the pitch to celebrate.last_img read more