Jan 9 2013 By Yann Tear
Chelsea 0-2 Swansea City - Capital One Cup SF 1st leg
CHELSEA face a massive task to reach the final of the Capital One Cup after a disastrous first leg at the Bridge – two catastrophic blunders from Branislav Ivanovic gifting Swansea a two goal lead.
By the end of a frustrating evening, home fans were baying for the blood of interim boss Rafa Benitez and chanting the name of Roberto Di Matteo.
A season that promised the stars – and a glut of silverware - is starting to unravel and it is going to take a special performance at the Liberty Stadium to rescue this particular cause.
It was a night the hapless Ivanovic (pictured) will not forget in a hurry.
The Blues had spent most of the first half camped in the Swansea half, so the Serb was not switched into defensive mode when Ross Turnbull rolled the ball out to him on the edge of the area six minutes before the break.
He was caught dawdling by Jonathan De Guzman and the deadly Michu did the rest, easily sidestepping Gary Cahill and planting an unerring shot to Turnbull's right.
But if that felt bad, his 92nd minute mistake will have felt even worse. He failed to notice sub Danny Graham lurking behind him when he tried to play a backpass to Turnbull and the striker nipped in to round the keeper and slot home. The visiting fans could hardly believe it.
Chelsea will feel they should have been in front in the first half, given the amount of possession they enjoyed.
With Benitez employing the Golden Triangle behind Fernando Torres – Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard – the clever exchanges ensured a steady flow of openings.
But the Blues were not in clinical form. Mata stabbed straight at keeper Gerhard Tremmel and fired another effort effort off target. Ramires too went close after cutting inside two defenders, but it was arguably Ivanovic who came closest to scoring just before the break.
Clearly mad with himself for his first error, he powered forward to send in a goalbound shot from outside the area which drew a good save from Swansea's stopper.
The Blues knew they had to step it up and David Luiz in particular looked like a man on a mission – firing a free-kick narrowly wide and then arriving in the box to crash a low left footer at Tremmel.
The Matthew Harding End was baying for the introduction of Frank Lampard and Demba Ba and they got their wish as Benitez shuffled his pack in search of a breakthrough.
Torres' withdrawal was greeted with as much enthusiasm as the arrival of Ba and there are signs that the fans have finally started to tire of the £50m man.
Ba did go close with a couple of headers – one at Tremmel and one wide – but was undeservedly booked for diving after tumbling under a challenge from the German keeper.
That in itself would have been a bad enough epitaph, but the unfortunate Ivanovic ensured their was worse to come.
Line up: Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Cole; Ramires (Lampard 71), David Luiz; Oscar (Marin 83), Mata, Hazard; Torres (Ba 81). Subs not used: Hilario, Ferreira, Bertrand, Ake.