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Result: Norwich City beat below-par Middlesbrough to secure Premier League promotion

First-half goals from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond prove the difference at Wembley as Norwich City ease past Middlesbrough 2-0 in the Championship playoff final.

Norwich City have earned their place back in the Premier League after beating Middlesbrough 2-0 in the playoff final at Wembley this afternoon.

All the damage was done in the first half as far as Alex Neil's men were concerned, having found the net twice early on to leave the Smoggies facing an almighty task.

Despite improving in the second half, Boro ultimately failed to create enough clear-cut chances, meaning a return to the top flight for the Canaries following just a 12-month absence.

Norwich City players celebrate their second goal scored by Norwich City's English midfielder Nathan Redmond (2L) during the English Championship play off final football match between Middlesbrough and Norwich City at Wembley Stadium in London on May 25, 2© Getty Images

The contest got off to a storming start as both sides rattled the crossbar inside the opening 10 minutes. Bradley Johnson, who has 15 goals to his name this campaign, was first to be denied as he rifled in a superb shot from the edge of the box, while Jelle Vossen did likewise up the other end just 32 seconds later.

It was Norwich who claimed first blood, though, as Cameron Jerome made light work of the division's strongest defence to waltz through and tuck the ball beyond Dimi Konstantopoulos.

Boro, whose pre-match preparations got off to a bad start when they arrived at the ground less than an hour before kickoff, then found themselves two down with just 15 minutes on the clock.

Nathan Redmond, lively throughout the opening stages, rounded off a fine passing move by controlling Steven Whittaker's pass and blasting home a low finish across goal.

Middlesbrough's Belgian striker Jelle Vossen hits a shot that hits the Norwich City crossbar during the English Championship play off final football match between Middlesbrough and Norwich City at Wembley Stadium in London on May 25, 2015© Getty Images

The Smoggies had been boosted coming into this match by the return to fitness of striker Patrick Bamford, but the Chelsea loanee struggled to receive the service he has become so accustomed to throughout this season, as Boro upped their search for a route back into the game.

Chances proved to be limited for both sides for the remainder of the first half, however, which would have suited City much more than their shell-shocked opponents, with Aitor Karanka's side failing to register a single shot on target prior to the interval.

Former Real Madrid assistant Karanka turned to Emilio Nsue at the break in place of Dean Whitehead, and the tinkering appeared to pay dividends when Boro made a positive start to the second half.

After finally putting some pressure on their opponents, Middlesbrough had just a few corner kicks to show for their efforts as Norwich continued to remain strong at the back.

Norwich City's English striker Cameron Jerome celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Championship play off final football match between Middlesbrough and Norwich City at Wembley Stadium in London on May 25, 2015© Getty Images

It took an hour before the Smoggies' first on-target shot was registered, as an under-par Bamford forced John Ruddy into making a save to his right, shortly after Vossen was shown a yellow for diving inside the opposition box.

The contest was far more balanced at this stage, but still Boro - relegated from the Premier League in 2009 - could not turn possession into chances as the clock continued to tick down.

Russell Martin perhaps should have put the game beyond doubt when meeting a cross just five yards from goal, only to head over the bar when unopposed, while Redmond came close to doubling his personal tally when shooting narrowly wide from a free kick in front of on-looking England boss Roy Hodgson.

As the £120m showdown entered its final 10 minutes, things looked increasingly bleak for Boro, and they were left to rue their luck once more when Daniel Ayala's header was cleared off the line by Lewis Grabban.

That proved to be end of the chances for Karanka's charges, who must now pick themselves up ahead of another gruelling Championship campaign next time out.

For Norwich, on the other hand, they become just the 23rd side out of the last 89 to earn a top-flight return at the first time of asking.

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Norwich City players celebrate their second goal scored by Norwich City's English midfielder Nathan Redmond (2L) during the English Championship play off final football match between Middlesbrough and Norwich City at Wembley Stadium in London on May 25, 2
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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