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Swan glide into semis thrills Laudrup

SWANSEA will end a 48-year wait when they play in the League Cup semi-finals next month.

The Swans' 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough last night secured their first appearance in the last four of a major cup competition since going down to a 2-1 defeat to Preston in the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1964.

"It's fantastic to reach a semi-final," manager Michael Laudrup said.

"I asked all the players before the game if any of them had played in a cup final, and no one had. "Everyone can be proud that we are in the semi-finals, but when you are there you want to go the next step and be in the final. Whoever we play next, it will be very special."

It took an 81st-minute own goal from Boro's Seb Hines before Swansea could start thinking about the two-legged semi-final. They will be joined by Bradford, Aston Villa and the winners of next week's tie between Leeds and Chelsea.

"It was a very tight game," Laudrup added. "It wasn't a brilliant game to watch for the neutral, but it was a tight cup game."

Middlesbrough must now pick themselves up for Saturday's home clash against Wolves, but they will only have one full day of preparation after completing a 320-mile journey home from south Wales today.

"Cup competitions are about getting through to the next round, and we didn't manage that," Boro boss Tony Mowbray said. "We gave a decent account of ourselves. It was a game we could have won. I don't think there was any time when they cut us open.

"I think the team can take some heart that if we can get out of this division that we are in we can come into the Premier League and be positive."


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