Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard was sent off for kicking a ball boy during the Capital One Cup exit to Swansea.
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The Belgian was trying to retrieve the ball from under the ball boy who had fallen on top of it having failed to return the ball promptly after it had gone out for a goal kick.
Referee Chris Foy showed the 22-year-old a straight red card on 80 minutes.
Blues manager Rafael Benitez said both player and ball boy had apologised to each other after the match.
He added: “They both recognise there was a mistake.
The ball boy left the pitch following the incident
“The boy was apologising for time wasting. Hazard was frustrated and tried to get the ball. He was kicking the ball and getting the ball.
“We can analyse if for half an hour but we know that both are wrong.”
Swansea captain Ashley Williams said: “Demba Ba told me that the boy held on to it. I saw him [Hazard] kick him in the ribs, and you can’t do that.”
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup commented: “I think he [Hazard] will regret it when he sees it. The ball boy should have let it go but he was pushed first and then he kicks him.
“I understand as a player when you are behind and you are under pressure you sometimes say or do things you shouldn’t but there are some things you cannot do.”
Chelsea drew the match 0-0, with Swansea progressing to the final with a 2-0 win on aggregate.
However, Chelsea FC has a different story to tell as they tweeted this:
“Has football gone mad? Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ball boy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it.”
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