Being a ball-boy is certainly a Hazard-ous business…I’ll get my coat.
Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard was sent off for kicking out at a ballboy in his team’s League Cup semi-final second leg at Swansea.
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With the match poised at 0-0, and Chelsea chasing a 2-0 aggregate deficit, Hazard became annoyed with a ball boy who failed to return the ball promptly after it went out of play for a Swansea goal kick with 10 minutes left.
Hazard appeared to kick the boy as he tried to retrieve the ball from underneath him and after a delay of several minutes, the Belgian was shown a straight red card by referee Chris Foy.
Swansea captain Ashley Williams was quick to condemn Hazard’s behaviour.
“(Chelsea striker) Demba Ba told me that the boy held onto it,” he told Sky Sports after the final whistle.
“I saw him (Hazard) kick him in the ribs, and you can’t do that.”
The match ended 0-0, sending Swansea into their first major final, where they will meet fourth-tier Bradford City.
Chelsea reacted immediately by questioning Foy’s decision to dismiss Hazard on the club’s official Twitter account.
“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,” the club wrote on the account, which has over 1.79 million followers.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup predicted that Hazard would quickly see the error of his ways, and said the club had not instructed their ball boys to waste time by holding onto the ball when it went out of play.
“I saw it from very distant, obviously from the bench, and just saw it (again) after the game,” he said.
“I think Hazard is a great player. I think when he sees the images on TV, he will regret it.”
On suggestions the ball boy was deliberately holding up play, Laudrup said: “No, definitely not. He was pushed and he was on top of the ball.
“I can understand you’re frustrated when you’re behind and your pulse is going, but there are things you should never do.”
Hazard said afterwards: “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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