Writer: Lofty 1905
Date:Wednesday January 23 2013
Chelsea failed to conjure up a winning performance tonight, in a match that will be remembered for an acrimonious off-field incident involving Eden Hazard and a Swansea ballboy.
We started the better of the two sides, with Swansea being content to stand off we recycled possession from deep and looked to find our rhythm early on.
Demba Ba went down in the box after making contact with Ben Davies, but the referee correctly turned down his appeals for a penalty.
Swansea were soon on the break, with a Wayne Routledge shot being deflected by Cesar Azpilicueta to keep the pressure off of Petr Cech in goal.
Routledge again looked dangerous as he threaded through Michu with a deft pass, but Cech conjured up a fantastic save to prevent the Spaniard from putting the tie to bed.
Swansea continued to look the better side, pinging passes around in our final third and probing forward. Jonathan de Guzman saw his effort on goal blocked by Gary Cahill, who threw himself into the path of the shot.
Eden Hazard shot tamely wide in the 19th minute. A drilled cross from Ashley Cole brought about our first corner, but Gary Cahill's header from the resulting set piece was a weak one, and Hazard failed to do anything of note with the rebound.
We slowly began to look more settled after the twenty minute mark, but couldn't find a way through Swansea's solid defence. A long range effort from Ramires was easily dealt with by Swans keeper Gerhard Tremmel.
Mata and Oscar combined inside the box after being played through by Demba Ba, but Oscar failed to prevent the ball from crossing the byline after Mata's silky flick on sent it his way.
Oscar had a golden opportunity in the 30th minute, but failed to control the ball inside the box under tight pressure from Swansea's Ashley Williams.
Ramires was fortunate to escape a booking for a foul on Ki Sung-Yueng in the 37th minute, the Swansea midfielder going down after his ankle was clipped.
Demba Ba had an opportunity late on in the half after a mix up by Swansea's defenders saw the ball fall to him in the box, but he hastily skied his shot over the bar, squandering our best chance of the match so far.
We began the second half without making any changes, and looked to settle into our work. Two goals and a clean sheet in 45 minutes was the order of the day, just to push the tie to extra time.
Swansea, on the other hand, were only a solitary goal away from more or less killing off our chances.
The Swans broke early on down the left flank via de Guzman , but Azpilicueta marshalled him wide and shut down the move.
We were soon on the counter quickly but Ba failed to take another chance, and put a shot well wide of the post.
A corner in the 51st minute served up our next opportunity, but Mata's cross failed to find either Cahill or Ivanovic. Swansea won the ball and broke quickly but failed to make the most of it, and we conceded a throw in.
As the match progressed, Swansea's intent was clear with Tremmel taking an age to commence a goal kick in an effort to eat up the clock.
A head injury for Leon Britton stopped play for a considerable length of time, with the Swansea man having his head bandaged.
Michael Laudrup made a change in the 64th minte, with Nathan Dyer replacing Wayne Routledge.
Benitez soon shuffled our defence, replacing Ivanovic with David Luiz in the 67th minute.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Swansea managed to break quickly after an Oscar cross was dealt with easily, but their attack came to nothing.
Mata launched a powerful shot at goal in the 72nd minute, forcing Tremmel into a making a great save.
Oscar nearly found Cahill in the box with a floated cross, but Tremmel again closed down our attack and dealt with the aerial threat.
Oscar's night was soon over, as he was replaced by Fernando Torres in the 80th minute.
The end of the match was soured by an off the pitch incident, with a Swansea ballboy being involved in a tussle of sorts with Eden Hazard.
After appearing to deliberately trip over the ballboy smothered the ball, and Hazard quickly grew frustrated as he attempted to bring it back into play.
He launched a firm kick in an attempt to free the ball from under the boy, but the referee spotted the incident and Hazard subsequently received a red card for violent conduct.
Ryan Bertrand replaced Ashley Cole in the 85th minute, but by this stage the match was effectively dead and buried.
As the game petered out, Swansea looked the more threatening side in the 6 minutes of added time.
Cech was forced into a great save late on, as Nathan Dyer surged forward and launched a powerful effort at goal.
Swansea celebrated as the referee blew the final whistle, confirming their advancement into the League Cup final against Bradford City.
Chelsea failed to overcome a dogged Swansea defence who thwarted our every effort. Demba Ba squandered precious chances up front, but the whole team must shoulder the blame for our performance over the course of the two legs.
Date:Wednesday January 23 2013
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|3. Man City||32||22||4||6||+54||70|
|7. Man Utd||33||17||6||10||+18||57|
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