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Downing inspires Middlesbrough to cup win

  • Story Highlights
  • Middlesbrough through to FA Cup quarters after 2-0 home win over West Ham
  • Stewart Downing and Tuncay Sanli score goals to put Middlesbrough through
  • The result sees Boro reach last eight of competition for fourth consecutive year
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(CNN) -- England midfielder Stewart Downing turned in an inspired display as Middlesbrough shook off their relegation fears to book their place in the FA Cup quarterfinals for the fourth successive year with a 2-0 home win over West Ham.

Tuncay (center) celebrates Middlesbrough's second goal in their 2-0 victory over West Ham.

Tuncay (center) celebrates Middlesbrough's second goal in their 2-0 victory over West Ham.

Downing curled home a brilliant fifth-minute free-kick to get his side off to a perfect start, and was a thorn in West Ham's side throughout as the Teessiders claimed just their third victory in 18 attempts in all competitions.

Tuncay Sanli's 20th-minute volley gave Gareth Southgate's men breathing space, and both the Turkey striker and Jeremie Aliadiere had chances to kill off the Hammers before the final whistle.

Scott Parker passed up a glorious opportunity to give his side a foothold in the game when he shot inches wide on the hour mark but Boro held on to book a trip to fellow-Premier League side Everton in the last eight.

Boro will now turn their attention to Saturday's difficult clash with Liverpool as they attempt to end a run of 14 league games without a win.

Downing, whose only other goal so far this season came in the opening game, broke the deadlock when curling home a stunning free-kick to leave Robert Green grasping at thin air.

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Downing might have doubled his tally with 16 minutes gone when he ran on to Matthew Upson's careless pass in-field, but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

But the second goal arrived just four minutes later when defender James Tomkins, in his desperation to cut out Gary O'Neil's long ball to Aliadiere, succeeded only in hooking it into the path of Tuncay.

The Turkey international, who had not scored since the first week of December, still had plenty to do, but he controlled his volley superbly to beat the stranded Green.

Boro could have strengthened their position further within three minutes of the restart when full-back Justin Hoyte picked out Aliadiere inside the penalty area and he turned smartly to fire in a shot which flew just wide with the help of a crucial deflection off Tomkins.

Meanwhile, for the visitors, substitute David Di Michele, who had mis-hit a volley within seconds of his arrival, turned provider on the hour to hand Parker a gilt-edged chance to drag his side back into the game, but he pushed his shot agonisingly wide of the post with just goalkeeper Brad Jones to beat.

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