BY JUSTIN FERGUSON
Swansea City played Chelsea to a scoreless draw on Wednesday, setting up an eye-opening Capital One Cup final between the Welsh club and League Two’s Bradford City.
The Swans will head to their first major cup final after holding onto the 2-0 advantage from the first leg of the semifinal.
However, the historic win for the 101-year-old club was overshadowed by Eden Hazard’s ejection in the 80th minute.
The Chelsea midfielder appeared to kick a Swansea ball boy in an attempt to quickly get the ball back from him. As Swansea and Chelsea players rushed over to tend to the ball boy, referee Chris Foy pulled the red card out on the offending Belgian, ending any comeback hopes for the Blues.
The Swansea vs. Bradford final will be held February 24 at Wembley Stadium.
Here are some more stories to wrap up a busy Wednesday:
REAL MADRID, SEVILLA ADVANCE TO COPA DEL REY SEMIS
Real Madrid is moving on to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey following its 1-1 draw with Valencia.
Despite losing goalkeeper Iker Casillas to an early hand injury, the visiting Madrid side was able to snatch a 3-0 aggregate lead right before halftime via a Karim Benzema goal.
Valencia was able to get the momentum shortly after the second half started. Fábio Coentrão was sent off for receiving his second yellow card in the 51st minute. Valencia’s Tino Costa scored off of the resulting free kick, assisted by a handling mistake from substitute goalkeeper Adan Garrido.
But Valencia could not capitalize on the man advantage, even when Real’s Angel di Maria saw red in the 89th minute.
While one nine-man squad punch its ticket to the semifinals, another one suffered a devastating loss. Real Zaragoza saw two red cards in their 4-0 loss to Sevilla, which was highlighted by a brace from striker Álvaro Negredo.
Madrid will face the winner of Barcelona and Malaga in the semifinals, and Sevilla will take on either Atletico Madrid or Real Betis. The final two quarterfinal matches will be played on Thursday.
ROMA TAKES FIRST SEMIFINAL LEG 2-1 OVER INTER
Two early goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia Destro were enough to give AS Roma a 2-1 lead in their Coppa Italia semifinal with Inter Milan.
The two Italian giants shared honors in a 1-1 Serie A draw on Sunday, but hosts Roma were not as friendly to their guests on Wednesday.
Rodrigo Palacio tried to spark an Inter comeback right before halftime, but solid defending from Roma preserved the opening leg victory. Palacio also scored Inter’s lone goal against Roma on Sunday.
The second leg of this matchup was originally scheduled for next week, but it has been moved all the way back to April to avoid conflict with the upcoming Six Nations rugby tournament.
SOUTH AFRICA WINS, TAKES GROUP LEAD IN AFCON
After 180 minutes of scoreless action on Saturday, three of the four Group A teams in the Africa Cup of Nations were able to find the back of the net on Wednesday.
Host nation South Africa was victorious in the first match of the day, dispatching Angola 2-0. Siyabonga Sangweni struck a powerful close range volley just before the half-hour mark to open the scoring. Second half substitute Lehlohonolo Majoro sealed the deal for Bafana Bafana in the 62nd minute, using some fancy footwork before slotting a shot between the legs of Angola keeper Lamá.
In Wednesday’s second AFCON match, Cape Verde Islands drew with Morocco 1-1. Luis Platini’s 35th minute goal, the first major international tournament goal for Cape Verde Islands, was erased by a late strike from Morocco’s Youssef El Arabi.
South Africa now holds a two-point lead over Cape Verde Islands and Morocco in the group table. The hosts can clinch a knockout round spot with a win or draw against Morocco on Sunday. Angola will need a win against Cape Verde Islands on Sunday to stay in the competition.
Arsenal scored four second-half goals in the span of eleven minutes to put away West Ham United 5-1 in the day’s only EPL action. (REPORT)
PSG defender and Uruguay national team captain Diego Lugano has been loaned to Malaga for the rest of the season. (REPORT)
Italy’s technical director Roberto Baggio resigned from his post on Wednesday, telling reporters that he was not able to do what he wanted to during his short tenure. (REPORT)
David Beckham was spotted at Chelsea’s training facility on Tuesday night, watching his oldest son Brooklyn tryout with the club’s U-14 squad. (REPORT)
What are your thoughts on these reports? What kind of punishment do you think Hazard will face for the ball boy incident? Excited for a potential El Clasico in the Copa del Rey semifinals? Who do you think will advance from Group A in the Cup of Nations?
Share your comments below.