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Thursday 13 December 2012

Capital One Cup: Swansea book last-four berth

Michael Laudrup delighted as Swans reach League Cup semi-finals with win against Middlesbrough

  • Swansea's Michu in action against Middelsbrough in the Capital One Cup quarter-final

  • Christian Benteke scores the fourth goal for Villa against Norwich

  • Arsenal's Gervinho misses from close range on a difficult evening against Bradford

A late own goal by Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines booked Swansea City's place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

"I asked the players before the game if anyone had played in a cup final and no one has"
Michael Laudrup

The Championship side matched the hosts throughout the contest at the Liberty Stadium but could find no reply after the 24-year-old defender headed Jonathan De Guzman’s corner past goalkeeper Luke Steele with 10 minutes remaining.

Though the result was hard luck on Tony Mowbray's side, victory for Michael Laudrup's charges was a welcome fillip after their 4-3 Barclays Premier League defeat at the hands of Norwich City on Saturday and takes them into the last-four stage of a major competition for the first time in 48 years.

"Everybody had the right attitude and everyone wanted to win," said Laudrup. "Maybe they wanted it too much. When you want something too badly, you can't do exactly what you are used to doing. However, we are in the semi-final and it will be very special.

"It's fantastic to reach a semi-final. I asked the players before the game if anyone had played in a cup final and no one has."

Aston Villa humble Norwich

Aston Villa sealed a semi-final spot in the Capital One Cup with a 4-1 victory over fellow Barclays Premier League club Norwich City while Arsenal exited the competition after a shock defeat on penalties by Bradford City.

Villa manager Paul Lambert returned to Norwich's Carrow Road for the first time since leaving in the summer and saw his side come from behind to win.

"Andreas Weimann is a natural finisher with a great work ethic"
Paul Lambert

Andreas Weimann, who came on as a first-half substitute for the injured Darren Bent, was the hero with two goals. He first converted Eric Lichaj's cross to put Villa 2-1 ahead and then latched on to a Christian Benteke pass for his second goal. Benteke scored Villa's fourth in injury time.

The hosts had taken the lead when Steve Morison seized a knockdown from Matt Lawton in the 19th minute and smashed the ball home on the half-volley. But the lead lasted only two minutes as Brett Holman drew Villa level with a first-time shot from outside the penalty area.

"I thought we were excellent," said Villa manager Paul Lambert after elimiating the club he left in the summer. "Andreas is a natural finisher with a great work ethic. I had only left him out to give him a rest."

Arsenal ousted by Bradford

Bradford looked to have squandered their hopes of upsetting a full-strength Arsenal side after taking the lead in the 16th minute through Garry Thompson only for the visitors to take the match to extra time thanks to Thomas Vermaelen's 87th-minute header.

"They started stronger than us but in the second half and extra time we dominated but couldn't convert our chances"
Arsene Wenger

But Matt Duke continued to repel Arsenal, who hit the bar through Santi Cazorla in extra time, and the Bradford goalkeeper saved his best for the penalty shootout, saving the Spanish midfielder's penalty.

After Maroaune Chamakh hit the post, the Gunners clawed their way back into contention with the help of a Wojcech Szczesny save from Stephen Darby and goals by Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

However, when Vermaelen had the opportunity to take the shootout to sudden death, the Belgian international also struck the post, to send Arsenal tumbling out of the competition and the League Two side into the last four.

"You feel embarrassed when you don't give everything but the team did give everything," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "It is disappointing but congratulations to Bradford, they defended well.

"They started stronger than us but in the second half and extra-time we dominated but couldn't convert our chances. It was difficult to create chances. Bradford defended well."

Capital One Cup quarter-final results

Wednesday 12 December
Swansea City 1-0 Middlesbrough

Tuesday 11 December
Norwich City 1-4 Aston Villa
Bradford City 1-1 Arsenal (3-2 pens)

Wednesday 19 December
Leeds United v Chelsea

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Key Points

  • Swansea City reach the last four of a major competition for first time in 48 years
  • Own goal by Seb Hines sees Michael Laudrup's side through
  • Aston Villa also through but Arsenal crash out on penalties