Chelsea 3, Middlesbrough 0: Chelsea move to within one win of beating Tottenham to the Premier League title as they relegate Boro to the Championship

Frank Dalleres
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Costa opened the scoring with his 20th Premier League goal of the season (Source: Getty)

Chelsea 3, Middlesbrough 0

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte hailed "a big step" after his team moved to within one win of clinching the Premier League title with victory over relegated Middlesbrough.

The Blues brushed Boro aside with goals from Diego Costa, Marcos Alonso and Nemanja Matic and can make their lead over Tottenham unassailable by beating West Brom on Friday.

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It made for a celebratory night at Stamford Bridge, with supporters proclaiming Chelsea champions and even Conte appearing increasingly convinced the race is all but over.

"Now I am a bit relaxed. This was a big step for us," said the Italian, who remains on course for the double in his first season.

"Now we need to do another step with the possibility to do this on Friday. It won't be easy because West Brom is a really good team, but for sure today we did a big step.

"It's important to celebrate because for us to win today, it means we are very close to winning the title, to have a great achievement. For me in the first season it's great."

Boro can have few complaints about their demotion, now confirmed, following a campaign in which only one of their five league wins has come against a team higher than 17th.

This was a match they needed to win, yet despite adopting a safety-first strategy they should have lost by six or seven, so readily did Chelsea carve them open.

Time after time Cesc Fabregas unlocked Boro with diagonal passes and it was with one such ball that he freed Costa to slot his 20th league goal of the season through Brad Guzan's legs.

Alonso made it two before half-time, beating Guzan from the tightest of angles on the stretch at the far post. This time Cesar Azpilicueta was the provider.

Chelsea v Middlesbrough - Premier League
All three Chelsea goals went between Boro keeper Guzan's legs (Source: Getty)

Pedro whacked the bar, Costa narrowly failed to connect with a low cross for the umpteenth time and a Fabregas volley ricocheted wide as the hosts tore into Boro after the restart.

Matic sealed a second consecutive 3-0 win in the 65th minute, firing through Guzan -- the goalkeeper's third nutmeg of a night to forget -- from another deft Fabregas pass.

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