Chelsea were given a lesson in finishing as Michu and Danny Graham grabbed one each to give Swansea a healthy lead for the return leg in two week’s time.
The Blues, on the back of a convincing 5-1 crushing of Southampton in the FA Cup, could not emulate the same conviction of Saturday, meaning they have it all to do to progress into the Capital One Cup final.
Indeed, the last time a team overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg of a League Cup semi was way back in 1994, and Chelsea will have to come up with something special in Wales to break down a robust Swansea side, let alone penetrate them three times.
Fernando Torres was given the arduous task of doing so in Stamford Bridge tonight, with Demba Ba dropped after bagging a debut brace. That fact would have been surprising at any other Club, but at Chelsea Football Club, any match without Torres starting is a surprise.
In fact, the Spaniard was playing his 100th game for the European Champions, with this being his 50th at home. But he did not even go about trying to grab himself a landmark goal.
The contrast between the two sides’ Number Nine is there to see. The prolific Michu has 16 goals in 25 appearances, costing Swansea a mere £2 million. Fernando Torres has just ten more goals in 75 more appearances, and with that money, 25 Michus could have been bought.
But the power of hindsight is a wonderful thing. Reminiscing is what Chelsea fans will do tonight. Their side have failed to score in four of Benitez’s six home matches as interim manager thus far. The home records set by Jose Mourinho, where Stamford Bridge was unbeatable for three years, is long in the past now, and something the current Chelsea envy.
The first half was one of silky, stylish football. Roman Abramovich was pictured cruising in his yacht with his pregnant girlfriend this week, and it looked as if Chelsea would sail through to the pinnacle of the competition.
Pass after pass brought joyous viewing, but no end product meant frustration cranked up a notch with every horizontal ball.
Ramires, Oscar, Mata and Hazard were all putting in fine shifts, with Chelsea having 12 shots in the first half. It was typical that only three were on target, whereas Swansea managed both their shots to be on target.
And indeed, one beat Ross Turnbull.
Lackadaisical defending from the normally sturdy Branislav Ivanovic meant that De Guzman could easily pinch the ball off the tough Serbian’s feet. Michu was adjacent to the Swansea man, and sidefooted the ball past Turnbull.
It was totally out of the blue for the visitors, but so frequently have Chelsea been capable of this, and not so skilled in turning it round.
The deflated atmosphere set in as the second half played on. Fernando Torres’ initial burst of enthusiasm as the half started slowly died out, with the 28 year old only managing 19 touches all game.
The decision to pick him and not in-form Ba would prove costly for Benitez, who seems insistent on sticking by his compatriot.
There was always hope for the Blues, at least statistically. Swansea have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 19 League Cup games away from home, conceding 41 goals in total. But Chelsea could not add to that as the half wore on.
Demba Ba did eventually come on with 10 minutes to go with the fans’ patience with Fernando Torres well and truly tested, and the Senegalese man contributed more in his cameo than Torres did all evening, being a handful in the box.
He did look as if he was clipped in the box, but to add insult, the striker himself was booked for diving.
The drama continued to the end.
As Chelsea pressed, Swansea doubled their advantage. Ivanovic had a night to forget with another howler, failing to spot Michu’s replacement, Danny Graham, who evaded Turnbull to score his side’s second.
Chelsea will need a miracle now. Even Juan Mata, who has scored two goals and assisted four more in just four Capital One Cup appearances this season, could not prevent this defeat. And with ever defeat, the boos for Rafael Benitez further amplify.