Cameroon internationals Joseph-Desire Job and Njitap Geremi scored second-half goals to secure Middlesbrough’s first away win of the season as they brushed aside Tottenham Hotspur 3-0.
Glenn Hoddle’s Tottenham went into the game with a 100 percent home record but they fell behind to Massimo Maccarone’s opener after 31 minutes and were then comprehensively outplayed.
Tottenham, who topped the premier league earlier in the season, have now lost three of their last four games and slip below Middlesbrough in the table.
Hoddle chose to leave club captain and former England striker Teddy Sheringham on the bench and recalled Christian Ziege, who had been suffering from a calf injury.
But the German international full back lasted just 12 minutes against his former club before he had to be substituted with a recurrence of the same injury.
It capped a worrying start to the game for Spurs, who were forced to concede three corners in the first five minutes as the visitors dominated the early exchanges.
Job forced Tottenham goalkeeper Kasey Keller to make a smart save on 18 minutes when he pushed his shot around the post.
The keeper was helpless to keep out Maccarone’s 33rd-minute opener, however, the Italian tapping in from close range after defender Ben Thatcher, under pressure from Alen Boksic, played the ball into his path.
Tottenham’s only chance of the first half was a shot by new signing Robbie Keane which went just wide.
The pattern of the game continued after the break and Maccarone turned provider in the 54th minute when his cross-field pass found Geremi in space and he picked his spot before angling a shot beyond Keller.
Three minutes later Tottenham’s Gary Doherty, on for Ziege, thumped a header against the post from substitute Sheringham’s corner as Tottenham attempted to claw themselves back.
Any hopes of rescuing something from the game were ended though when Maccarone released Job down the middle and the Cameroon midfielder strode through unchallenged before coolly finishing.
Job nearly made it four in the final seconds when he struck the crossbar with a beautifully struck free kick.