Swansea City made history last night by drawing 0-0 with Chelsea in the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final and making it to the final courtesy of a 2-0 aggregate victory.
The draw at the Liberty Stadium was hardly action packed with the biggest talking point coming on 80 minutes.
Eden Hazard was dismissed for a bizarre incident in the 80th minute.
A ball boy lay on the ball, only for the Belgium international to come along and attempt to kick the ball from under the youngster, hitting a combination of the boys’ ribs and the ball. It was a crazy incident.
Referee Chris Foy sent the midfielder off for violent conduct. The incident just illustrated how frustrated the Chelsea players were on the night, as nothing seemed to work for Rafa Benitez’s team.
The first big talking point of the game was Demba Ba going down under a challenge from young full-back Ben Davies in the Swansea penalty box. Referee Foy decided to wave away claims for a spot kick, even though there may have been contact between the two players.
Swansea top scorer Michu then brought out a superb save from Blues keeper Petr Cech. Swans full-back Angel Rangel cleared Gary Cahill’s header off the line and Ba fired an effort over the bar as Chelsea looked for an opening goal.
Ba curled an effort wide of the post from the edge of the penalty box early in the second half. Juan Mata had an effort blocked by a Swansea player, before Gerhard Tremmel produced a good saved from an Eden Hazard shot.
Then came the bizarre sending –off of Hazard, which effectively killed the tie off. Swansea had late efforts saved by Petr Cech from both Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer. The home side then just saw out the remaining minutes to make it into their first ever major cup final.
Credit has to go to Michael Laudrup and his players for their some season so far. The Dane had big shoes to fill when Brendan Rodgers left for Liverpool in the summer, but he has moved the Swans forward immensely.
Over the two legs captain Ashley Williams was a rock at the heart of the Swans defence. He seemed to be in the way of every threatening Chelsea attack. The Swans defence were superb in both legs though and they fully deserved to go through to the final.
The welsh club have never made it to a major final in the history of the club. It will be a fantastic occasion for fans, players and officials alike. Laudrup’s team will face League Two Bradford in the final and will be heavy favourites to win the cup.
A Capital One Cup victory will mean a place in Europe next season, a feat that not even Brendan Rodgers could achieve while with the Welsh side. The game against the Bantams won’t be an easy one though.
Phil Parkinson’s team have already seen off Premier League sides Wigan, Arsenal and in the semi-finals Aston Villa. They will be a difficult obstacle to move, but I’m sure that Michael Laudrup’s side will be confident of victory.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup described the final of the Capital One Cup between his side and Bradford as a fairytale. Neither club would have expected to reach a cup final this season. It’s a great achievement by both.
I think it’s also good for the game to see two different teams in a final instead of the usual names. In the final there is usually at least one big name team, so this year’s final will be a fascinating watch for neutrals.
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