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Young Matildas Pelted with Bottles in Wuhan
The Asian Women's Under 19s Championship witnessed shocking scenes in Wuhan as the Australian team were pelted with bottles by a highly-charged crowd following a mass brawl at the end of China's match against the Young Matildas.
China won the Group B encounter 2-1 to secure a place in the semi-finals of the competition but had their backs to the wall as the Australians pushed for an equaliser.
Australia were also denied a penalty when Kyah Simon was brought down two yards inside the area and a free-kick outside was awarded.
To compound their frustration, centre-back Jessica Seaman was sent off on the stroke of full-time.
However following the final whistle, an Australia player fell to the ground while remonstrating with the Chinese, prompting captain Tameka Butt to charge across the pitch and grab the perceived offender.
That sparked a mass brawl as both sets of players and backroom staff charged onto the pitch, with punches thrown.
Once order was restored, several plastic water bottles were thrown from the crowd in the direction of the Australian team (whose ages range from 15 to 19) as they made their way down the tunnel with local police imploring fans to stop the behaviour.
Nobody was seriously injured but Australia coach Alen Stajcic was furious with what had transpired who stated "we've prepared for 12 months, to have an embarrassing sporting event take place like that in China. That's not sport.
"Sport is played by two equal teams battling for sporting supremacy, not that kind of behaviour. On the field, off the field, it's not good enough.
"I'd be embarrassed if I were the host of this event after that game."
China's troubles with football were highlighted in the article 'Not Made for China' in the January/February 2009 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.
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