Premier League strugglers Swansea and Middlesbrough draw 0-0

SWANSEA: Swansea and Middlesbrough did little to alleviate their Premier League relegation worries with a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

Swansea is only a point and a place above the relegation zone, while Middlesbrough is five points behind the south Wales club with a game in hand.

The goalless draw highlighted the failings of both sides in front of goal and will encourage the teams around them.

There was no shortage of endeavor or commitment, but neither side could provide the defining moment of quality that would have meant so much.

Swansea suffered a blow before kick-off when top scorer Fernando Llorente was ruled out with a calf problem.

Llorente has shown himself to be one of the best headers of the ball in the Premier League since he left Sevilla last summer and his absence hurt Swansea and boosted Boro in equal measure.

On many occasions Swansea found themselves in decent crossing positions, but the ball had to be too precise to find Llorente's replacement Jordan Ayew and a Boro defense well-marshalled by captain Ben Gibson coped comfortably.

Boro had to withstand an early Swansea flurry that saw Martin Olsson fire over an angled shot and Ayew sting goalkeeper Victor Valdes' hands from 20 yards.

But the Middlesbrough defense stood increasingly firm, the real moments of Swansea danger in the first half coming from Gylfi Sigurdsson's expert dead-ball delivery in which no home attacker could apply a telling touch.

Boro's threat was also fleeting in a first period that started brightly but quietened down as both teams began to settle.

The visitors looked to utilize the pace of Adama Traore on the break, one such lightning raid ending with Leroy Fer cautioned for a cynical trip.

Alvaro Negredo and Stewart Downing had shots blocked in the same attack, the former bringing optimistic appeals for a penalty after the Spaniard's shot had struck the arm of Alfie Mawson.

But the Swansea defender's arm was in a natural position and his close proximity to Negredo ensured that referee Bobby Madley was not interested in pointing to the spot.

Tom Carroll went close to breaking the deadlock with a 25-yard drive that whistled past Valdes' post as Boro reorganized with targetman Rudy Gestede replacing the injured Gaston Ramirez.

The game's most dangerous moments centred around its two best players, Sigurdsson and Traore.

Sigurdsson had one tame effort before the Iceland international produced a delicious touch to find a yard of space and unleash a 25-yard strike that Valdes stretched to push away.

At the other end Traore dragged his shot wide before outpacing Mawson and picking out Adam Clayton at the far post.

Clayton headed the ball down into the path of Negredo, but Lukasz Fabianski was out quickly from his goal to prevent the striker from converting the chance.

Negredo had another opening after 75 minutes when Gestede nodded down Bernado Espinosa's long ball into his path. He did well to hold off Mawson but he was off balance when he took a shot that ended wide of Fabianski's goal.

Swansea had late opportunities when Sigurdsson's free kick was deflected wide and Mawson's goalbound header was cleared by Marten de Roon.

But Gestede wasted an even better chance at the death when he sent his far-post header wide.