Downing and Tuncay inspire Boro

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Stewart Downing turned in an inspired display as Middlesbrough shook off their relegation fears to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals for the fourth successive year with a 2-0 win over West Ham.

The England international curled home a brilliant fifth-minute free-kick to get his side off to the perfect start, and was a thorn in West Ham's side throughout as the Teessiders claimed just their third win 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, who also reminded the Riverside Stadium faithful of his ability with a fine individual display, had chances to kill off the Hammers long 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, while substitute David Di Michele made life difficult for the home defence as time ran down.

But having been denied victory at the first attempt by Herita Ilunga's equaliser at Upton Park, Boro were not about to succumb a second time and ultimately ran out comfortable winners in front of a crowd of 15,602 to book a trip to Everton in the last eight.

Defeat on Teesside ended Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola's hopes of lifting the trophy he won twice as a player at the first attempt as a manager, but he could have few complaints.

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.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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David Di Michele
Stewart Downing
Scott Parker
Herita Ilunga
Tuncay Sanli
Premier League
Jeremie Aliadiere
Gareth Southgate
Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United
FA Cup

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