Gylfi Sigurdsson shoots at goal for Swansea, but was unable to break the deadlock against Middlesbrough. Photo: Andrew Boyers, Action Images via Reuters

Swansea City missed the opportunity to pull away from the relegation zone when they were held 0-0 at home by Middlesbrough in a tetchy encounter on Sunday.

Swansea had conceded 63 goals before the visit of their fellow strugglers, but even the home side’s defensive failings could not prompt an improvement from goal-shy Middlesbrough, who have now drawn 0-0 on six occasions this term, a league high.

Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson looked the player most likely to make something happen, but a thumping effort from outside the area was saved spectacularly by Victor Valdes on 64 minutes, while a free kick by the Iceland international flew just wide four minutes from time.

The draw pulls 18th-placed Swansea up to 28 points, one clear of the relegation zone ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, while Middlesbrough, in 19th, move up to 23 points, five off safety.

Boro, who have not won in 12 league games, visit Hull in midweek.

Reuters