Despite his outstanding contributions throughout the season with 28 goals, Akpom’s exertions on Wednesday night were not enough to secure victory in the crucial playoff semi-final clash.
The encounter at the Riverside Stadium ended in a disappointing 0-1 loss for Middlesbrough, with Gustavo Hamer’s second-half strike sealing Coventry’s ticket to the playoff final.
As the final whistle blew, Akpom’s anguish was evident as he collapsed onto the turf, his red shirt shielding his devastated face.
Having been recognized as the EFL Championship Player of the Season, Middlesbrough’s Player of the Year, and Middlesbrough Players’ Player of the Year, Akpom had undoubtedly enjoyed a remarkable campaign. His exceptional goal-scoring prowess had propelled Boro into the playoff spots during the regular Championship season.
His disappointment was, however, evident as the referee blew for full-time against Coventry.
Football pundit Rob Law, speaking on BBC Radio Tees, described the shattered state of Akpom at the end of the match, emphasizing the magnitude of his devastation.
Acknowledging the extraordinary season Akpom has had, Law depicted a broken man, shattered by the loss and the shattered dreams of his team.
“Almost everybody – when that whistle went from referee David Coote – just falling down onto the turf,” Law said.
“I’m just looking now at Middlesbrough’s Chuba Akpom, who has his red shirt over his face.
“He is absolutely broken; he is in pieces, the man who has had the season of his life.”
Despite Boro’s failure, Akpom could still play in the English top as several Premier League clubs are reportedly keen on his services.
Middlesbrough, however, would want the former Arsenal star to stay at the Riverside and lead the club again for promotion next season.