Benitez: Three games enough for Hazard ban


CHELSEA manager Rafael Benitez last night confirmed the club’s opposition to Football Association plans to extend Eden Hazard’s three-match ban for an altercation with a ball boy.

Benitez spoke after a late equaliser from Fernando Torres spared the European champions a hugely embarrassing FA Cup fourth-round defeat at League One Brentford. The FA announced its intention on Friday to impose further punishment on Hazard for appearing to kick a ball boy during Wednesday’s Capital One Cup exit at Swansea, deeming his automatic ban “clearly insufficient”.

“At the moment, we will accept that three games is enough. We will see what happens,” said Benitez, whose club has until tomorrow evening to contest the charge.

“For a player that was in a cup competition, with this intensity and in the way that things are going on, I think that a three-game ban is enough.”

A draw saved Chelsea’s blushes but contributes to a fixture pile-up that means the replay will not be held until mid-February, when the fifth round takes place.

Twice Brentford led their feted neighbours, first through Marcello Trotta, who pounced after Ross Turnbull spilled Harry Forrester’s shot. Oscar jabbed a fine leveller soon after the break before Forrester converted a penalty, after Turnbull had brought down Tom Adeyemi, but Torres curled an equaliser seven minutes from time.