Saturday, May 26, 2018

League Cup: Swansea 0 Chelsea 0 (agg 2-0)

SoccerNews in English Premier League 23 Jan 2013


Swansea have booked a League Cup final date with Bradford on February 24 after a 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on Wednesday.

That was enough to give Michael Laudrup’s men a 2-0 aggregate win in their semi-final, and leaves Rafael Benitez’s side looking to the FA Cup and the Europa League as their best chances of taking any silverware this season.

In a bizarre incident late in the match, Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard was sent off for appearing to kick a ball boy.

Swansea, meanwhile, can look forward to their first ever appearance in a major cup final, and could become the first Welsh winners of the League Cup.

Controversy ensued after just five minutes in a lively opening – Demba Ba, who was preferred to Fernando Torres, went down in the area as Ben Davies hung out a leg, but the striker’s theatrical reaction failed to persuade referee Chris Foy.

Swansea continued the entertaining start with Michu stinging Petr Cech’s hands with a fine 16-yard drive after a clever through-ball by Wayne Routledge, with the hosts showing no fear in defending their two-goal cushion.

Gerhard Tremmel scooped up Hazard’s low effort on 20 minutes with Ba lurking for the rebound, and he did well to hold Ramires’ strong drive three minutes later as Chelsea began to threaten the hosts.

Juan Mata could not quite control a Ba pass well enough to feed Oscar who would have had a simple finish from 12 yards, but the flair of the visitors’ forwards began to shine through despite the confident passing of Laudrup’s side.

Swansea failed to clear the ball on the half-hour after a mishit Mata volley eventually found its way to Oscar, but the young Brazilian could not find enough space to shoot from eight yards and a good chance went begging.

Ba blasted a half-volley over the bar after a defensive mix-up in injury time, leaving his side with just 45 minutes to find two vital goals.

While many would have assumed Chelsea would push on in the second half in search of goals, the visiting fans were left frustrated with the likes of Mata and Ramires seeing shots closed down by a determined display from the hosts.

Chelsea upped the tempo as Mata unleashed a fine 20-yard drive with 18 minutes to go that Tremmel expertly held on to, while Torres was introduced with 13 minutes remaining to try and rescue the game.

However, all hopes of a comeback faded after Hazard received his marching orders with 10 minutes to go after bizarrely kicking a ball from underneath a ball boy, who appeared to be lying on the ball to waste time.

Swansea ended up looking the likelier side to score late on as Ki Sung-Yueng and Nathan Dyer wasted opportunities, but the Swans will not care about failing to score as they have a Wembley showdown to look forward to next month.


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