Tuesday, February 06, 2007

China U-23 beat by Chelsea, complain about pitch

China's 2008 Olympic team lost its first match against a Chelsea XI 1-0 on Monday while officials moved to quell complaints about the pitch at the English Premier League club's training centre. Reuters reported complaints from the U-23 side about the state of the facilities at the London club's Cobham centre, where they are training for two weeks. "The pitch isn't as good as we imagined," Zhou Haibin, a midfielder with Chinese champions Shandong Luneng, told Titan sports newspaper. "It doesn't matter if we eat or live a little worse. We come here to train. But now food and accommodation are good while the pitch is so bad."

Before the match at Brentford, a sometimes testy affair which was won by a free-kick from Spaniard Sergio Tejera, Chelsea released the following statement from an unnamed China team spokesman: "We have been training in Cobham for almost one week," he said. "We are so impressed by the great pitches and facilities provided to us in Cobham training centre. All young players are very excited about such experiences and the coaching staffs are interested in the various workshops etc. Every one of the team is satisfied with the training and life here in Cobham and would like to thank again everyone who has made efforts in turning this into reality."

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