Gabriel Jesus saved a crucial point and as good as condemned Boro to relegation.
The City striker rose to head Manchester City level in the 86th minute after a brave challenge from the Teessiders.
Alvaro Negredo and Calum Chambers twice gave Boro the lead, but City hit back through a controversial penalty , and then the late Jesus nod.
These are the five things Simon Bird learned from the Riverside.
Dodgy penalty helps City
Did Leroy Sane con referee Kevin Friend? He tumbled theatrically. I’d say under challenge from Marten De Roon, but Sane actually ran into him and fell.
It was a devastating blow for Boro who had competed and frustrated.
De Roon was livid as was Fabio, but Sergio Aguero kept his cool to covert.
City were four minutes from defeat and a battle to finish in the top four when Jesus struck.
He leapt high above his Boro markers to power a brilliant header home from Sergio Aguero’s dink into the box.
It was a fine goal and a wonderful way to save a point.
Alvaro Negredo haunts former club City
His first club in England was City where he scored nine in the first few months before goals dired up and he was sold.
On loan Negredo was Boro’s great hop this season, but has not delivered the performances required of a talisman.
However he now has nine goals in 30 starts, not a bad return in a goal-shy side, after his opener.
It will have felt sweet.
Boro doomed to be relegated?
Almost certainly, despite this point. They are four points adrift to catch the pack, and need a perfect finish to have a chance, but face Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool.
It won’t happen, but they have certainly lifted their attacking game in recent weeks.
The great pity is that Boro didn’t loosen up their strict defensive playing style earlier and have more of a go.
Are Boro equipped to bounce back quickly if they go down?
Relegation will hurt but it won’t be a disaster. Big earners will be released like Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdes, and Ben Gibson is the big asset to be sold.
However they have a talented core remaining from their last promotion campaign and won’t have to do much surgery to be in the mix. They will also be getting a new manager.