Middlesbrough 1 Newcastle United 2
Those who anticipated a pulsating all-action encounter must have been bitterly disappointed.
Boro made changes with the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Charlton Athletic in mind and suffered another injury blow when defender Andrew Davies was stretchered off in the second half.
Davies must be an obvious doubt for the Charlton clash. Another injury blow must be a worry to manager Steve McClaren, with Gaizka Mendieta and Lee Cattermole ruled out for the rest of the season.
Despite the hustle and bustle, neither goalkeeper had a lot to do though Newcastle United's Shay Given came to the visitors' rescue with a brilliant save from a free-kick by second-half substitute Mark Viduka late in the game.
Newcastle had the first scoring chance when Charles N'Zogbia fired wide when Middlesbrough had expected offside.
Yakubu raced through at the opposite end for a header that was easily collected by Given.
Newcastle United fans taunted the home fans with a chant of 'where were you on Thursday night?'.
It was a biting comment on the fact that the UEFA Cup quarter-final second leg with Swiss side Basel had attracted only 24,000.
Newcastle's Emre was booked for a foul on Boateng. Surprisingly, Newcastle players protested over the decision when the referee had no option following a strong challenge.
There was no flair from either side and it took an own goal to break the deadlock.
From a Nobby Solano left-wing corner, Shola Ameobi headed towards the far post and in a crowded goalmouth Boateng had the misfortune to head into his own net.
Shortly after, Newcastle had strong appeals for a penalty when Ameobi was fouled. Television replays showed the appeals were justified.
Just before the break Ameobi increased the lead with a shot into the far corner of the net.
Boro had missed the defensive influence of skipper Gareth Southgate, who was rested for the occasion.
Australia international Viduka, a two-goal hero against Basel, was one of the second-half substitutes.
Davies and Lee Bowyer both crashed to the deck after a clash. Bowyer limped back into the action, but Davies was carried off on a stretcher after play was held up for several minutes.
Massimo Maccarone, the last-minute matchwinner in the sensational win against Basel, took over.
Viduka appealed in vain for a penalty when Australia team-mate Craig Moore appeared to handle the ball.
Boateng threw the home side a lifeline when he grabbed a goal in the 77th minute.
A Fabio Rochemback free-kick was chested down by Viduka for Boateng's shot to take a deflection off central defender Titus Bramble.