Northern Ireland’s Elite Section game with Mexico at the Coleraine Showgrounds witnessed some shocking scenes last night after players from both teams clashed in a heated affair.
While Stephen Craigan’s men won the game 2-1, the match will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the four red cards and two mass brawls that ruined the game.
With Mexico winning 1-0 the game descended into chaos in the 57th minute when a fight broke out as Northern Ireland attempted to take a corner. Punches and kicks were thrown and number of players found themselves on the deck – including Josh Doherty and Dale Gorman.
Both benches piled onto the pitch as the melee escalated.
Stewards entered the pitch to sort out the fracas and referee Tim Marshall eventually sent off three players. Mexico goalkeeper Raul Gudino and defender Carlos Arreola saw red, before Leeds United man Robbie McDaid followed them down the tunnel.
The game was halted again in the 89th minute after Kevin Gutierrez was sent off for kicking out – the fixture soon being brought to an abrupt end after another brawl ensued.
Mexico took the lead with a spectacular strike in the 52nd minute – midfielder Victor Guzman firing home a powerful shot into the top left corner from 30 yards.
After the the 57th-minute brawl brought the game to a stop for five minutes, play re-started with Mexico down to nine men and Northern Ireland reduced to 10.
With the one-man advantage Northern Ireland equalised in the 82nd minute, Mikhail Kennedy forcing the ball over the line from inside the six yard box following a scramble.
The winner arrived with three minutes of normal time left on the clock when Sean Mullan turned home Steven Fallon’s low cross.
Mexican substitute Gutierrez was sent off in the 89th minute when he kicked out at a Northern Ireland player.
Another brawl soon ensued and the game came to an abrupt end with a minute of normal play remaining, and presumably at least five minutes of stoppage time.