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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

China Olympic soccer team in brawl

China coach Ratomir Dujkovic said a fight that broke out between his club and English team Queens Park Rangers during an exhibition game in London was unacceptable.

The fight Wednesday at Queens Park Rangers' training facility forced the match to be abandoned with Queens Park winning 2-1 about 15 minutes from the end.

The incident is the latest to plague China's Olympic soccer team during its two-week stay in London.

The team was invited there by Premier League club Chelsea, which is trying to make inroads into China's lucrative sports market. Chelsea launched a new Chinese-language Web site last month in Beijing, and announced new sponsorship deals in China.

"That's the style of English soccer," Dujkovic told the Beijing sports daily Titan. "But no matter what they do, it shouldn't be a reason for fighting. I am really disappointed. It is not acceptable."

Titan reported that Chinese player Zheng Tao was knocked unconscious in the brawl and may have a broken jaw.

Chinese striker Gao Lin, who was involved in the initial incident that sparked the fight, is being sent back to China, Titan said.

Footage of the fight aired Thursday by Hong Kong's Cable TV showed Gao throwing downward punches after being picked up by a Rangers player. Both players fell to the ground, then others joined the fight.

Earlier in the week, Chinese players said they were unhappy with the practice facilities provided to them by Chelsea at its training ground just outside London. Players said the playing field was in poor condition, a claim that Chelsea officials later disputed.

In a practice game against Chelsea's reserve team earlier this week, Chinese player Dai Lin was awarded a red card and sent off in a match that also featured pushing and shoving.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press