Swansea Beats Chelsea, Reaches First Final in 100-Year HistoryBob Bensch
Swansea reached the first major cup final in its 100-year history after a goalless draw with Chelsea in English soccer’s League Cup.
The result last night in Wales was enough to give Swansea victory in the two-match series following its 2-0 win in London two weeks ago. The Swans will face Bradford, which plays in the fourth level, on Feb. 24 at Wembley Stadium in London.
“To do it over two legs against a team like Chelsea, tonight we made history,” midfielder Leon Britton told Sky Sports.
Chelsea finished the match with 10 men after Eden Hazard was red carded in the 80th minute for kicking a ball boy who wouldn’t give him the ball back prior to a goal kick.
The boy went to the ground as Hazard tried to get the ball and the Chelsea winger tried to kick the ball from under the youngster. Players from both teams went over to tend to the boy, who walked away holding his side as referee Chris Foy showed Hazard the card.
“The boy put his whole body onto the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball, and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy,” Hazard told Chelsea TV. “The ball boy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologized and the boy apologized as well, and it’s over. Sorry.”
Chelsea coach Rafael Benitez said the ball boy was guilty of time wasting and Hazard was at fault for letting his frustration get the better of him. Team officials “will talk to the player. We will deal with this internally,” Benitez said.
Chelsea made an early penalty claim as Demba Ba went down under a challenge from Ben Davies. Swansea broke on a counter attack and Wayne Routledge’s volley was deflected over the goal for a corner kick.
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech then stopped a shot from Swansea’s leading scorer Miguel Michu, who signed a new four-year contract yesterday, while Swansea’s Angel Rangel cleared Gary Cahill’s header off the line. Ba then sent a shot over the goal just before halftime.
Ba curled a shot wide of the post early in the second half and Swansea goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel saved Juan Mata’s attempt. Hazard was then shown his red card, ending Chelsea’s chances of reaching the final.
“We were playing with 10 players, had problems and needed to score three goals,” Benitez said. “We couldn’t. That’s the main thing.”
Bradford eliminated Aston Villa 4-3 on aggregate two nights ago to also reach its first League Cup final. The Bantams, who are 10th in League Two, are the first club from the fourth tier to reach the championship game in England’s second-tier cup competition since Rochdale in 1962.
“This final is between the small fairytale and the huge fairy tale,” Swansea manager Michael Laudrup told Sky Sports. “If we are the small fairy tale, what can you say about Bradford?”