Swansea advances past Chelsea to League Cup final
Chelsea's Nascimento Ramires, right, and Swansea City's Sung-Yeung Ki battle for the ball during their English League Cup second leg semi-final soccer match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, Wednesday Jan. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/PA, Nick Potts) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
LONDON - Swansea completed an unfancied lineup for the League Cup final by advancing past Chelsea after a goalless second leg of their semifinal, with the European champion further humbled by finishing with 10 men following a bizarre incident.
Protecting a 2-0 lead from the first leg two weeks ago, the Welsh club defended stubbornly to reach the first major cup final in its 100-year history.
It will play fourth-tier Bradford at Wembley Stadium on Feb. 24, making for one of the more unpredictable showpiece matches in the competition's history.
A match bereft of chances and action came to life in the 80th minute when Eden Hazard was red-carded for aiming a kick at a ballboy behind the Swansea goal after the Belgium winger attempted to reclaim the ball. The ballboy had been lying across the ball, preventing Hazard from collecting and returning it for a goal kick.
Television replays showed the ballboy being led off along the edge of the pitch, clutching his ribs. It isn't thought that he resumed his duties.
Chelsea's players protested against the decision by referee Chris Foy.
"Has football gone mad?" Chelsea said on its official Twitter feed. "Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ball boy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it."
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said Hazard would regret his actions.
"The ballboy should have let the ball go but he was pushed first and then he kicks him," Laudrup said. "As a player when you are behind, your pulse is very high and sometimes you say and do things. You overreact. But there are some things you cannot do."