LONDON: Chelsea crumbled into new confusion as they were knocked out of the League Cup semi-finals by Swansea and had Eden Hazard sent off for kicking a ballboy.
Rafa Benitez’s men, having lost 2-0 at home could manage only a goalless draw in South Wales in the second leg; Michael Laudrup’s Swans will be clear favourites to beat fourth division Bradford City in next month’s Wembley final.
Swansea’s achievement in reaching the first major cup final in their 100-year history was overshadowed by the Belgian forward’s mad moment.
Ten minutes remained when he lost patience with a ballboy who refused to hand over the ball after it had gone out of play for a goal-kick.
The ballboy fell to the ground, shielding the ball, as Hazard attempted to reclaim it. The Blues forward then tried to kick it from under him but, instead, made contact with the teenager who was 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, son of a Swansea director.
Several Chelsea players went to tend to the ball boy, who was left holding his ribs, before referee Chris Foy produced a red card. This was the first expulsion of the Belgian international’s career.
Demba Ba, who started in place of Fernando Torres, and Oscar failed to convert Chelsea’s best chances. Swansea also had to survive a penalty scare after Ba went down under a challenge from Ben Davies and Angel Rangel cleared off the line a header from Gary Cahill.
Chelsea also dominated much of the second half but keeper Gerhard Tremmel saved sharply from Hazard before the bad-tempered finale.
Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer missed chances to secure victory on the night as Swansea saw out six minutes of stoppage time to reach Wembley.
Chelsea’s immediate attitude to the sending-off was a Twitter comment on the club’s official feed asking: “Has football gone mad?”
However the Tweet was later deleted and an apology issued. The club stated that both player and ballboy had apologised to each other for the incident.
Hazard said: “Boy put his whole body onto the ball & I was just trying to kick the ball & I think I kicked the ball & not the boy. I apologise.”
A police spokesman said that no action would be taken.
[Stoke’s Robert Huth tweeted: “Ballboys staying down injured . . . They’ll be elbowing players off the ball next.”]
** Arsenal revived their Premier League campaign by scoring four goals in 10 minutes at the start of the second half in thrashing West Ham 5-1.
The Gunners recovered impressively from successive defeats by Manchester City and Chelsea despite falling behind to an early strike from Jack Collison.
Lukas Podolski levelled from 25 yards, Olivier Giroud scored his first goal in six games then Podolski set up Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Giroud again.
West Ham had to play the closing stages with 10 men after injury to substitute Daniel Potts.
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