Swansea City reach Capital One Cup final after seeing off Chelsea
START the cars, book up the trains and wheel out the buses.
Swansea City are on the way to Wembley for a first ever major final.
Michael Laudrup's men wrote one of the most remarkable pages in the Swansea history books last night by humbling the mighty Chelsea.
There were no goals in the Capital One Cup semi-final, only an ugly red card for Chelsea's Eden Hazard and a mighty party for the Jack Army.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
It was tense for a long time, but Laudrup's men shut down the Chelsea megastars to book a date with Bradford City under the arch next month.
It is much too early to clear a space in the Liberty Stadium trophy cabinet, for Bradford have shown on three occasions on their run to the final that they can humble top-flight teams.
But Swansea now have a golden chance to land a piece of major silverware for the first time.
What a story this is turning into for Laudrup's team.
Rarely has the Liberty seen a more significant game than this in its eight-year history.
Only the Championship play-off game against Nottingham Forest carried greater weight.
That night Swansea sealed their path to Wembley having produced a towering performance away from home in the first leg.
The challenge here was to repeat the trick, although the opposition were a little handier.
Unlike Forest in 2011, of course, Swansea came into this game with a lead after that extraordinary 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge.
Laudrup had pledged not to set out merely to defend that advantage — and he picked a team designed to attack Chelsea as well as protect Gerhard Tremmel's goal.
Tremmel, Leon Britton and the fit-again Chico Flores were the three new faces in the starting line-up following last weekend's Premier League triumph over Stoke.
Laudrup's team talk was not about motivation. His players did not need reminding about the prize on offer.
Instead, the Dane suggested, he would have to calm his players down before kick-off.
It cannot have been easy, for tension was in the Landore air.
Yet Swansea began with admirable composure, fending off Chelsea in the opening minutes before carving the first opportunities of the game.
First Angel Rangel broke down the right, teeing up a Jonathan de Guzman cross which Wayne Routledge met with a sweet volley.
Petr Cech would have done well to save had Cesar Azpilicueta not blocked with his chest.
There was work for the Chelsea goalkeeper a couple of minutes later, Cech diving brilliantly to his left to repel Michu's drive after fine work from Leon Britton and Routledge cut the visitors open. Chelsea wanted a penalty when Demba Ba tumbled theatrically over Ben Davies's leg, then they wanted better fortune when Gary Cahill's loopy header was nodded off the line by Rangel.
Hazard followed up but shot too close to Tremmel.
Chelsea began to probe Swansea, Ramires drilling a long-ranger into Tremmel's arms before Oscar bundled his way into the box before being denied by Ashley Williams's critical tackle.
As had been the case in the first leg, Swansea were having to work overtime to shut Chelsea down.
If it was not Juan Mata, Hazard or Oscar getting between the lines, Ba was making a nuisance of himself whenever Chelsea pumped the ball into the box.
The Senegalese frontman got a first chance in first-half stoppage time. When he drilled over, Swansea could regroup.
Williams had been in defiant mood in the first period, and he began the second with a thunderous — but fair — challenge on Hazard. Here was a statement of intent.
Chelsea were soon asking more questions of Laudrup's rearguard, Mata teeing up Ba for a long-ranger which whistled past the post.
Swansea were digging deep, hunting blue shirts down in the quest for a glorious success.
Britton took a hit for the cause, Ramires's elbow making a bump sprout up on his forehead.
Laudrup made his first change, sending on £400,000 man Nathan Dyer. Chelsea summoned £21 million man David Luiz.
Despite the chasm in resources between these two clubs, the score remained goalless.
Britton, now wearing white bandage round his head, robbed possession a couple of times in midfield, Davies rose for a towering header.
Chelsea were dominating the ball, but there was a white-shirted shield around Tremmel's penalty area.
When Mata exchanged passes with Ba and took aim from outside the box, Tremmel gathered well.
Chelsea were growing frustrated, as proved in dreadful circumstances when Hazard kicked out at a ball boy who held on to the ball too long.
The young man may have taken his time, but this was brainless from Hazard.
His team down to ten men, Rafael Benitez sent on Fernando Torres in the search for a comeback.
Yet Swansea almost finished Chelsea off seven minutes from the end when Michu fed Ki Sung-Yueng and he helped the ball wide to Hernandez.
The Spanish international aimed for the far corner, but Cech got across to save. No matter. With Hazard gone, Chelsea's race was run. Dyer drew another save from Cech in stoppage time, but by then the party was under way.
Goalless draws do not come any better than this.