With Swansea up 2-0 on aggregate, Chelsea's Eden Hazard was sent off in the 80th minute of the second leg of their Capital One Cup semifinal for attempting to kick the ball free from underneath a Swansea ball boy who had flopped on top of it in a bid to waste time (gif here).
Facing elimination and little time left to make up the deficit, Hazard was eager to retrieve the ball quickly from the ball boy and carry on the with the match. But the 17-year-old ball boy had other ideas, and tried to deliberately keep Hazard from getting to it by falling on top of the ball. So, after a bit of a struggle, Hazard tried to kick the ball free, prompting the teenager to finally roll off it.
The ball boy carried on his embellishment, holding his midsection as he was escorted down the tunnel before Hazard was shown a straight red for the kick. The ball boy showed an obvious lack of sportsmanship with his initial flop, but Hazard probably should have pointed it out to the ref instead of opening himself up to being accused of kicking children in cold blood.
The second leg ended in a 0-0 draw, allowing Swansea to advance with their two goals from the first leg. They will play League Two side Bradford City in the final.
UPDATE: If this really is the ball boy's Twitter account, then it would seem he was planning this moment...
— Charlie Morgan™ (@CHARLIEM0RGAN) January 23, 2013
UPDATE II: After the match Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said, "The ballboy has been in the dressing room talking with Hazard. They apologised to each other, they know they were wrong and that's it. He was wasting time, Hazard was frustrated and wanted to get the ball back quickly. They both made a mistake and we cannot say too much. Both were wrong and we cannot change things."
UPDATE III: Hazard has apologized via Chelsea TV. He said:
"The boy put his whole body onto the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise.
"The ball boy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologised and the boy apologised as well, and it is over. Sorry."
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