Published — Friday 25 January 2013
Last update 24 January 2013 10:33 pm
LONDON: Swansea City reached their first major English final after holding Chelsea at bay in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final to win 2-0 on aggregate on Wednesday.
After securing a shock 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago, the Welsh club put in a resilient rearguard display to draw 0-0 in front of their jubilant fans.
Chelsea probed throughout but struggled to create clear-cut chances while Swansea had a great opportunity to put the tie to bed early in the first half when Michu raced through on goal but could not beat Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.
Chelsea’s unhappy evening was compounded late on when playmaker Eden Hazard was sent off for trying to kick the ball away from a ballboy who was lying on top of it.
Swansea will face fourth tier Bradford City in the final at Wembley Stadium on Feb. 24.
Meantime, Oliver Giroud netted a double, Lukas Podolski scored and set up three more as rampant Arsenal closed the gap on the Champions League positions by thumping West Ham United 5-1 in their rearranged Premier League match on Wednesday.
Arsenal, finding a spark and much-needed self belief after successive league defeats by title-chasing Manchester City and Chelsea, ran riot with four goals in 12 mad minutes after the break having fallen behind in the first half to Jack Collison’s goal.
Podolski, recalled after illness, quickly levelled with a superb strike from 25 meters. Giroud’s volley made it 2-1 soon after the restart before German international Podolski, causing mayhem on the left flank, set up Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Giroud to leave shellshocked West Ham 5-1 down before the hour.
West Ham were forced to play with 10 men for the final 18 minutes after substitute Daniel Potts was carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking leg injury following lengthy treatment on the pitch.
Arsenal stay sixth but are now one point behind Everton and four behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after 23 games.
West Ham, with one league win in their last eight, remain 12th.