Swansea City vs. Middlesbrough  1 - 0

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League Cup: Swansea 1 Middlesbrough 0

12 December 2012 23:02

Swansea City secured their passage into the semi-finals of the League Cup with a 1-0 win over Championship outfit Middlesbrough.

A late Sebastian Hines own goal was all that separated the teams at Liberty Stadium as Swansea reached the League Cup semi-finals for the first time in the club's history.

The only chance of note in the opening 20 minutes fell to the feet of ex-Everton forward Lukas Jutkiewicz, but his poor control saw him squander the chance to test Gerhard Tremmel in goal.

The hosts' German goalkeeper was called into action just a minute later when former Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter forced him to make a comfortable save from his effort from just outside the box.

Middlesbrough continued to prove more than a match for their Premier League opponents but came close to falling behind just past the half-hour mark when Itay Shechter guided his header on target though his effort lacked power.

Despite scoring freely over recent weeks, Swansea struggled to create any real chances and both sets of players headed into the half-time interval with the match still goalless.

The second half opened with both teams seemingly intent on scoring a long-range effort but like much of the match up until that point, all of the attempts lacked any real quality.

The best chance of the match arrived in the 74th minute when Swansea's on-loan Villarreal midfielder Julien De Guzman forced Jason Steele into a full length save from a free-kick to keep the game goalless.

However, the highly-rated Steele was unable to stop his side from falling behind eight minutes later.

De Guzman was again in the thick of the action, this time playing in a corner which was put into his own net by Hines.

As much as the visitors tried to push for a goal to take the match into extra time they failed to create any real chances and will be hoping to get back to winning ways in the Championship at the weekend.

Swansea's victory sees them reach the final four alongside Aston Villa and giant killers Bradford City, who dramatically beat Arsenal on penalties on Tuesday, with Leeds United and Chelsea to meet next week for the final place.

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Laudrup taking League Cup seriously

12 December 2012 09:12

Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has talked up the value of the League Cup ahead of his team's quarter-final against Middlesbrough.

Premier League side Swansea host Championship promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough in the last eight of England's secondary cup competition on Wednesday.

Despite the somewhat low importance given to the competition in the modern era, Laudrup feels the League Cup can afford his team a rare opportunity to capture silverware.

"I've always liked cups because when you're in a team that can't compete for the Champions League or title, it's a way to success," Laudrup said.

"It's a potential semi-final we're talking about. We're into the dreams of playing a final at Wembley and we have to do everything to get there."

Laudrup has experience of guiding mid-table teams to the latter stages of knockout competitions; the Danish coach took Getafe to the final of the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 2008.

"It was a fantastic year, though obviously we had to keep our eyes on the league and you have to manage that, that's the difficult part," he said.

"That's something we could have to manage in January, but there is the possibility to maybe go and play in a final and win a trophy.

"When you are a smaller club when do you ever get the chance to play for a trophy?

"Being in mid-table or avoiding relegation is great, but it is a special feeling to win a trophy and we can do it with a cup.

"I have been to Wembley as a player, and been to finals as a manager and it's special."

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray agreed to some extent with Laudrup's sentiments, but said his focus remains firmly on orchestrating a return to the Premier League for the team from the Riverside Stadium.

"Whilst it's nice to have a run in a cup competition, get the plaudits and potentially get to a semi-final, televised games and heighten the profile of your club, the bottom line come May is, if you don't finish in the top two or the top six, giving yourselves a chance, it's a wasted season," he said.

"For the club, the ambition we have got is to try to get back there as quickly as we can."

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Michu backs Swansea to make League Cup final

11 December 2012 19:22

Swansea star Michu is confident his side has what it takes to make the Wembley final in the League Cup.

The 26-year-old has made a brilliant start to life at the Liberty Stadium, topping the Premier League scoring charts with 12 goals.

The Swans face Middlesbrough in the quarter-final of the League Cup on Wednesday off the back of a disappointing home defeat to Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday.

But despite this setback, the Spaniard believes his side have a great chance of making the final of the competition.

"Why not think about getting to the final? Let's hope so - it would be special to get to Wembley," Michu told Radio Marca.

"The bad thing is that it (double against Norwich) didn't help us win any points. That's a shame. It counts for the individual statistics, but if it doesn't help us get a point then it's not something to be happy about.

"Those two goals didn't taste the same as the two against Arsenal. We took the three points there and I was happy on that day."

Michu's fine start to the season has attracted interest from several clubs, most notably La Liga side Atletico Madrid, and boss Michael Laudrup has rated his midfielder at 30 million pounds to ward off interest.

However, the former Rayo Vallecano player insists he is happy at Swansea and has no plans to leave.

"At this stage it's very good to have (scored) 12 goals, but above all to be enjoying myself as much as I am at Swansea. Here you have to work hard, though; nobody gives you anything," he said.

"Right now I am happy, I am playing almost all the minutes and I am feeling very good.

"It's always special to be linked with teams like Atletico Madrid, one of Spain's biggest teams, but at the moment I am very happy at Swansea."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
5 12 -1 19
6 12 +4 18
7 12 +3 18
8 12 +5 17
9 12 +3 17

Championship table

# Team MP D P
1 18 +18 35
2 18 +17 32
3 18 +14 32
4 18 +8 31
5 18 +2 31