Aston Villa ran out 1-0 victors at the Riverside on Saturday afternoon thanks to a first-half goal from Australian international Mile Jedinak.
Middlesbrough and Villa exchanged spurned opportunities in the opening 10 minutes as neither were able to capitalise on a frantic opening period.
However, with 15 minutes on the clock, Jack Grealish delivered an inch-perfect corner kick which was met by Jedinak. The midfielder glanced a fine header into the far corner to give Steve Bruce's side the lead.
Tony Pulis' men were unable to get themselves back into the game, and now have it all to do heading into Tuesday night's second leg in the Midlands.