Frustrations boiled over on Wednesday night during Chelsea's visit to Swansea for the return leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal draw that finished 0-0.
The shocking incident took place in the 78th minute as the ball rolled over the Swansea endline for a goal kick. The teenage ball boy could be seen sauntering over to the ball and seemingly impeding Eden Hazard from retrieving it.
At some point he ended up lying on the ball and Hazard could be seen trying to pluck it from the teenager's grasp. Frustrated in his effort, and perhaps by the way the game was playing out, the Belgian international inexplicable then kicked the teen in ribs, leaving him rolling on the ground in apparent pain.
Swansea captain Ashley Williams condemned Hazard's behaviour, telling Sky Sports:
"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."
Williams ran over to where the incident occurred to confront Hazard, while Ba, David Luiz, Frank Lampard and others tended to the fallen youth.
Referee Chris Foy conferred with sideline officials and listened to the entreaties of Lampard, Chelsea's stand-in captain, before showing the Belgian midfielder a straight red.
Perhaps more worryingly for both Chelsea and Hazard are reports that police are now investigating the incident:
South Wales Police are investigating an incident involving Eden Hazard and ball boy following complaints #SSN
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 23, 2013
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 23, 2013
Rafa Benitez is clearly under pressure by both owner Roman Abramovich and Chelsea fans. That pressure seemed evident in his decision to start new man Demba Ba ahead of fellow countryman and one-time prodigy Fernando Torres.
With the loss Chelsea were eliminated from the competition, having lost to Swansea 2-0 earlier at Stamford Bridge. Swansea will now meet Bradford City, winners on Tuesday over Aston Villa in the other semifinal, in the finals of the Capital One Cup on February 24.
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