Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard earned a red card in astonishing circumstances during his side’s Capital One Cup semifinal exit at the hands of Swansea on Wednesday after he kicked a ball boy.
With Chelsea trailing 2-0 from the first leg and unable to make any inroads well into the second half during the return match at the Liberty Stadium, Hazard went to try and hurriedly retrieve the ball from behind the byline to restart the game. The Swansea ball boy, however, wise to the situation, attempted to smother the ball and delay the game.
Hazard, clearly frustrated, then tried to kick the ball from under the youngster, leaving him writhing on the turf. After a long delay when Swansea’s players steamed in angrily toward Hazard to remonstrate at his actions, the Belgium international was sent off by referee Chris Hoy.
The ball boy was carried off of the pitch still seemingly in pain.
While the ball boy was clearly not acting in the most sporting of manners, Hazard’s actions are sure to earn plenty of criticism from inside and outside the game.
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An automatic red card will earn Hazard an automatic three-match ban, but the controversial incident may yet see the 22-year-old given a longer suspension.
Chelsea responded immediately by supporting their big-money signing. On their official Twitter account, Chelsea posted:
“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. #CFC”
The match eventually finished 0-0 in south Wales, meaning Swansea advanced to their first ever major final.