Swansea City players celebrate Fernando Llorente's goal in the 2-0 win over Stoke.
Swansea City players celebrate Fernando Llorente's goal in the 2-0 win over Stoke. Geoff Caddick

Crucial wins for sides battling EPL relegation

FOOTBALL: The battle to survive relegation from the English Premier League is not much clearer after 2-0 wins for both Hull City and Swansea City.

Hull remains two points clear of the Swans who are still in the final relegation spot.

For second-from-bottom Middlesbrough, though, the future looks bleak after a 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth moved the Teesiders further adrift.

With four games remaining 17th-placed Hull is just a place above the drop zone with 33 points to the 31 of Swansea.

Boro is in 19th spot on 24 points and Sunderland is bottom on 21.

Hull defeated Watford at KCOM Stadium despite having Oumar Niasse surprisingly sent off for a challenge on M'Baye Niang on 25 minutes.

Liverpool loanee Lazar Markovic scored from close range after his header had bounced down on the goal line on the hour before Sam Clucas found the top corner with superb 30-metre shot.

"I'm really happy. It was not easy. We played with 10 players, but our boys were fantastic and they deserved it," Hull manager Marco Silva told the BBC.

"I'm really happy but we still have four games to fight. Maybe in January no one would believe in our club to survive. I don't know what the future is."

Spanish striker Fernando Llorente gave Swansea the lead with a trademark header from a corner in the 10th minute.

Stoke had the chance to equalise but Marko Arnautovic blasted a second-half penalty way over the bar.

A minute later Swansea made sure of the win when Tom Carroll's shot found the top corner via a deflection off Joe Allen.

"I thought it was a must-win game and Hull have won and it was absolutely right," Swansea manager Paul Clement said.

"If the gap had gone to five points with four to play, the task would have been very difficult.

"Nothing changed between us and Hull but what has changed is we have got momentum now. We played terrific."

Boro has not won in 16 league games and endured a nightmare opening 20 minutes - letting in two goals and having midfielder Gaston Ramirez sent off for a second booking.

Josh King scored just 96 seconds into the match and Benik Afobe doubled the advantage for the Cherries.

Winger Marc Push made it 3-0 and Charlie Daniels completed the rout.

Everton and West Ham drew 0-0 at the London Stadium.

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