London: Middlesbrough booked their place in the Championship play-off final in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 rout of Brentford in the semi-final second leg on Friday.
Aitor Karanka`s team had taken a significant step towards a Wembley showdown with Norwich or Ipswich after snatching a late 2-1 win at Brentford in the first leg last week and they finished the job with a dominant display at the Riverside Stadium.
Lee Tomlin`s goal put the hosts in control in the first half before Kike and Albert Adomah netted after the interval to seal a 5-1 aggregate success.
Middlesbrough are now one win away from returning to the Premier League for the first time since their relegation from the top-flight in 2009.
While Middlesbrough can look forward to taking on Norwich or Ipswich, who play the second leg of their semi-final on Saturday, unheralded Brentford`s surprise run to the play-offs ends with the team facing an uncertain future following widespread reports that manager Mark Warburton will be dismissed after a dispute with the club`s owners.
Fourth placed Middlesbrough had finished seven points ahead of fifth placed Brentford in the second tier table and their extra quality shone through in the 23rd minute to the delight of the raucous 33,266 crowd.
Adam Clayton sent a raking crossfield ball out to Adomah, who cut inside Jake Bidwell before squaring for Tomlin to clip a shot past keeper David Button with the help of a slight deflection off Harlee Dean.
Spanish forward Kike added the second in the 55th minute, making no mistake with his finish after the ball had ricocheted into his path following Jelle Vossen`s surging run into the penalty area.
Middlesbrough have played some eye-catching football under the astute leadership of Karanka, who worked as Jose Mourinho`s assistant at Real Madrid, and they put the seal on their victory in typically flamboyant style in the 78th minute.
Adomah exchanged passes with Tomlin, who clipped a perfectly-weighted first-time ball through to the winger and the Ghana winger blasted home off the underside of the crossbar.