Hazard puts the boot in but Swans still glide into final
Swansea 0 Chelsea 0
Swansea eased their way into next month’s Capital One Cup final against Bradford as Chelsea had Eden Hazard sent off for kicking a ball boy.
By Graham Clutton
Leading 2-0 from the first leg, Michael Laudrup’s side were good value for the draw that took them into their first ever cup final.
And it was a bad day all round for Chelsea when Hazard was dismissed by referee Chris Foy for lashing out at a ball boy in the second half.
South Wales Police last night confirmed it plans to investigate the incident.
Swansea manager Laudrup said: “Hazard is a great player. When he sees the images I think he’ll regret it.” Swans defender Ashley Williams added: “I saw him kick him in the rib and you can’t do that to a young boy.”
Williams preferred to focus on the result, which secured Swansea a final date with League Two Bradford at Wembley next month.
“At times tonight it was like a bar fight especially when they were pushing on,” he said.
“The team defended brilliantly. That’s what we worked on.”
Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez said Hazard and the ball boy exchanged apologies afterwards. “They apologised to each other,” he said.
“They both talked. The boy knows he was wasting time. Hazard was frustrated and trying to get the ball back. We can not change the situation. We are disappointed because we lost a player.”
Speaking about the match, Benitez added: “We have to manage the game. They managed the game better and they are in the final.”
The ball boy fallout won’t take from a great night for Swansea. Needing to make a rapid start, Chelsea enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening quarter with Hazard and Oscar covering just about every blade of grass in the Swansea half in pursuit of the gap to prise open the hosts.
Their slick passing might have brought greater reward in the seventh minute when Demba Ba appeared to be upended by Ben Davies in the Swansea box. Referee Foy waved away the striker’s claims.
Swansea’s counter-attacking ploy almost paid dividends 90 seconds after Ba’s appeal. A neat cross from the right created havoc at the far post, but Wayne Routledge’s crisp volley was deflected over Petr Cech’s crossbar.
Two minutes later Routledge turned provider for leading scorer Michu. The Spaniard, who has just signed a new contract, picked his spot but Cech beat the ball to safety.
Chelsea did their best work in the middle third where Hazard in particular continued to cause Swansea a headache with his movement. Yet for all Chelsea’s quality, it was Swansea who looked the more comfortable. Michu’s downward header saw Jonathan de Guzman have a volley blocked by Gary Cahill while Ki Sung-Yueng saw a shot from distance rebound off Branislav Ivanovic.
Hazard’s deflected shot for a corner in the 20th minute, was Chelsea’s first real opportunity. However, it signalled a period during which Cahill had a goal-bound header cleared off the line by Rangel and Ramires, from 25 yards, was denied by Tremmel.
Chelsea might have gone in to the break in front had Ba have kept his shot down when an attempted clearance from Davies fell at his feet.
Five minutes after the interval, Ba’s shot looked set for Tremmel’s far corner, but somehow ended up wide.
Content to defend in numbers and to break at speed, Swansea were beginning to frustrate Chelsea.
Mata thought he had given Chelsea a lifeline 17 minutes from time, but his smart shot was dealt with by Tremmel.
Then came Hazard’s red card. The Belgian tried to wrestle the ball from a ball boy and appeared to kick out at the youngster who was left in pain.
With Hazard dismissed, Swansea finished the better of the two sides and might have won the game had it not have been for a top class save from Cech after substitute Nathan Dyer was put through on goal.
Swansea have made it through to the February 24 final and they will fancy their chances against Bradford.
Laudrup described the final against Bradford as a fairytale for both clubs.
“This final is between the small fairytale and the huge fairytale. If we are the small fairytale what can you say about Bradford?”
SWANSEA (4-5-1): Tremmel; 7 Rangel 7, Flores 8, Williams 8, Davies 7; Hernandez 7, Britton 7, Ki 7, de Guzman 7, Routledge 7; Michu 6
Subs: Dyer (Routledge 65) 6;
CHELSEA (4-5-1)Cech 7; Azpilicueta 6, Cahill 6, Ivanovic 6 (Luiz 68), Cole 6 (Bertrand 85); Ramires 6, Oscar 6 (Oscar 80), Lampard 6, Hazard 2, Mata 6; Ba 6.
Referee: C Foy.
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