Milk Cup: Northern Ireland game with Mexico marred by violence

Northern Ireland U20 boss Stephen Craigan says Mexican players were mostly responsible

Ugly scenes marred Wednesday's Milk Cup Elite match between Northern Ireland and Mexico U20s in Coleraine as brawls saw four players sent off.

The trouble happened in the second half as Northern Ireland took a 2-1 win.

One of the Mexicans aimed a kick at the head of a Northern Ireland player lying on the ground during the disturbances.

Mexicans Raul Monala Gudino, Carlos Arreola and Kevin Gutierrez were sent off with Northern Ireland's Robbie McDaid also dismissed.

The first brawl led to Gudino, Arreola and McDaid being dismissed while Gutierrez was then red-carded by referee Tim Marshall in the closing stages.

The second brawl broke out with some three or four minutes of normal time left and the referee opted to blow the final whistle when order was finally restored.

Northern Ireland U20 boss Stephen Craigan
"It was not nice. There were young kids here from around the world. They were here to watch a football match; they do not expect to see that. Mexico did it last year - they had a man sent off for punching. They have a history of it. I have to be careful what I say, but I would like to think Mexico will not be back at the Milk Cup."

Referee Marshall confirmed afterwards that the result would stand and that he had not abandoned the fixture.

Victor Guzman put Mexico ahead seven minutes into the second half but substitutes Mikhail Kennedy [82] and Sean Mullan [88] scored late goals for Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland manager Stephen Craigan said that he had been left "disgusted" by the scenes and competition organisers are certain to launch an investigation into what went on.

With Canada drawing 1-1 in Wednesday's other Elite Section game, Northern Ireland will lift the trophy at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday night if they avoid defeat against the Canadians.

In the Premier Section, Manchester United set up a semi-final with Partick Thistle at the Coleraine Showgrounds on Thursday night despite being held to a 2-2 draw by CSKA Moscow.

The Russian outfit will face French club Vendee in Thursday's second semi-final at the Riada Stadium.

Vendee confirmed their place in the semi-finals by edging out Co Antrim 2-1 while Partick's 3-2 win over the Chertanovo Academy booked the Scottish club's berth in the last four.

Nikita Kasatkin put CSKA Moscow ahead after seven minutes against United but the Old Trafford giants went in 2-1 up at half-time after goals from Callum Gribben and Marcus Rashford.

Mikhail Solovyev equalised for CSKA 15 minutes into the second half and both sides appeared content with the result which earned them semi-final places.

The Junior semi-finals will see County Antrim facing Chilean club O'Higgins FC at Scroggy Road with Plymouth Argyle taking on Brazilians SC Corinthians in the other last-four clash at Seahaven.

Antrim ensured their semi-final spot with a battling 3-2 win over Swindon Town while the Chileans ended Rangers's hopes by winning 1-0 at the Riada Stadium.

Plymouth strolled into the semi-finals by hammering Sydney United 6-2 while SC Corinthians clinched a 3-0 win in the battle of the Americas against Chivas Guadalajara.


Elite Section

Northern Ireland 2-1 Mexico

China 1-1 Canada

Premier Section

Club America 5-1 Co Tyrone

Vendee 2-1 Co Antrim

Partick Thistle 3-2 Chertanovo Academy

Gold Coast Academy 0-1 Co Armagh

Benfica 2-1 Brentford

Otago Academy 0-3 Bohemians

Craig Bellamy Foundation 2-2 Co Down

Newcastle United 1-2 RCD Espanyol

Lusaka Academy 4-1 Co Fermanagh

Ichifuna FC 1-3 Co Londonderry

CSKA Moscow 2-2 Manchester United

Junior Section

Santa Marta de Liray 0-3 Motherwell

Watford 2-1 Dundalk SL

Co Antrim 3-2 Swindon Town

JFA Academy 1-1 North Dublin SL

Sydney United 2-6 Plymouth Argyle

Global Premier Soccer 1-1 Queen of the South

SC Corinthians 3-0 Chivas Guadalajara

Sheffield United 0-1 Donegal Schools

Middlesbrough 2-0 Co Tyrone

Southampton 2-0 Co Londonderry

Co Down 2-4 Brentford

O'Higgins FC 1-0 Rangers

Liverpool 2-0 Co Armagh

Co Fermanagh 1-2 Everton

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