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[Sport] Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi reveals his focus after Middlesbrough debut in FA Cup

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    Super Eagles star, John Obi Mikel, attempted to focus only on the positive side of Middlesbrough’s performance after his new club got held to a 1-1 draw by Newport County in an FA Cup encounter on Saturday. Daniel Ayala’s strike did little to help the Smoggies as they were forced to FA Cup replay with the visitors’ last-gasp equaliser. The former Chelsea star was on for 62 minutes before being replaced by Adam Clayton but could not inspire them to victory in the FA Cup fourth round game.

    Ayala opened the scoring for Tony Pulis’ men after heading past goalkeeper Nick Townsend a corner taken by Lewis Wing. But Mathew Dolan’s injury-time strike offered the visitors a lifeline as they will wait for a replay to determine their Fifth Round fate. Newport will be looking to add Mikel Obi’s Boro to the list of big wins for the club, weeks after the club edged out Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho’s Leicester City in of the biggest shocks of the previous round of the competition.

    And Mikel, who joined the promotion chasing club in the Championship from Tianjin Teda in the Chinese Super League, insisted there was promising aspects to his performance while hoping for more game time. “I thought the performance was good,” Mikel told the club website after the encounter. “When you play these games, we were one up, we controlled the game and it’s one of those games where if you sit back you can get caught out and that’s what happened. The team played really well, it’s a good start for me and hopefully we can carry on from here. Today was good and hopefully I can get a few more games to get sharper and help the team a bit more.”

    The Nigeria international would be hoping to make his league bow in the Championship when Boro travel to another promotion-chasing side, West Bromwich Albion, on February 2. Boro sits in one of the play-off places at fifth place with 47 points, a place and three points behind West Bromwich Albion and just a point ahead of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard’s Derby County which booked its place in the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at lower league club, Stanley, on Saturday.

    Mikel’s move to Middlesbrough would greatly boost his chance of making Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles squad to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off in June and will be hosted by Egypt.

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