Faris Haroun and 5 Great Middlesbrough FC Debuts (With Video)
Middlesbrough climbed to third in the Npower Championship with an impressive 3-1 home win over Birmingham City.
Boro fell behind when Adam Rooney netted a penalty and went into the halftime interval 1-0 down. Tony Mowbray shuffled his pack and brought on Belgian playmaker Faris Haroun at the break for what would become a very impressive debut.
Boro equalized within three minutes of the restart when Barry Robson fired in a free kick. Faroun then caused problems dropping into the hole behind the striker's and unsettled Birmingham at regular intervals.
Faroun was denied by a Curtis Davies block as Boro pushed forward, before he finished off Joe Bennett's deflected pass for a 2-1 Boro lead.
Fellow substitute Malaury Martin was then set up by Faroun, and he finished off the Blue's with a wonderful dipping strike.
The result left Boro fans buzzing with the performance, and excited about what was to come from Faroun. Here we give you a rundown of five other players who made good impressions in their first game.
5. Andy Payton (v Bristol City, 1991)
Andy Payton was signed by Lennie Lawrence during the promotion season of 1991/1992. He made a fast start as he rounded the goalkeeper and put Boro 1-0 against Bristol City in the first three minutes of a Second DIvision game. Strike partner Bernie Slaven added two more to seal a 3-1 Boro win.
Sadly for Payton, after his lightning start he suffered a knee injury just before halftime that would curtail his Boro career. He scored only two more goals for the club before moving to Celtic.
4. Juninho (v Leeds United, 1995)
Juninho brought an excitement and joy to Teesside that has not been replicated since. The Brazilian player of the year was signed by Bryan Robson and was the cornerstone of the 'Riverside Revolution.'
He would go on to become a legend, and his ability was clear from his first game. In a Premier League game against Leeds the pint-sized playmaker cut through the defense and teed up Jan Aage Fjortoft to open the scoring.
The game ended 1-1, and the man who would be known as "The Little Feller" won the hearts of many Boro fans in the second half by picking a fight with the muscular Tony Yeboah.
3. Nick Barmby (v Arsenal, 1995)
Newly promoted Middlesbrough faced a tough opening day of their Premier League season. They faced an Arsenal team led by Boro legend Bruce Rioch, in a game that was also the debut of Nick Barmby.
Barmby was very lively throughout the game and in fact fired Boro into the lead after clever link play with Jan Aage Fjortoft. Boro came out with a 1-1 draw, but the performance of Barmby served notice if the attacking threat he would become throughout his Boro career.
He also had an outstanding home debut a week later, when he set up Craig Hignett to score the first ever goal at the Riverside Stadium as Boro beat Chelsea 2-0.
2. Marco Branca (v Liverpool, 1998)
Italian striker Marco Branca made a high profile debut in the Coca-Cola Cup Semi-Final Second Leg.
Boro had lost the first leg 2-1 to Liverpool at Anfield, and were not favored to turn it around in the second leg. However, the Teessiders flew out of the gate and levelled the aggregate scores wen Paul Merson netted an early penalty.
That was followed by Branca giving Boro a 2-0 lead just three minutes into his debut. Boro held on for the win to reach the Final at Wembley Stadium.
Branca had a short but spectacular Boro career, that sadly ended with a legal dispute against the club.
1. Fabrizio Ravanelli (v Liverpool, 1996)
Fabrizio Ravanelli shocked many when he left Champions League winning Juventus to join Middlesbrough.
'The White Feather' took no time to make an impact at Boro when he scored a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool to open the Premier League season.
Stig Inge Bjornebye fired Liverpool into the lead before Ravanelli equalized from the penalty spot. John Barnes put Liverpool up 2-1 and Ravanelli responded again by turning home a Neil Cox cross.
Robbie Fowler gave Liverpool the lead once more, but Ravanelli capped off a truly spectacular debut by completing his hat-trick, and celebrating with the trademark shirt over the head celebration he would go on to perform 31 times that season.