Sunday, December 19, 2010


Last Minute Penalties

I have written a fair bit about contentious last minute penalties but that has been from afar, safe with my laptop, a cold beer and a plate of chips. When you’re actually in the stadium, the home side are trailing 1-0, the game is entering injury time and fans are throwing missiles on to the field from all sides of the stadium there is only one thought crossing my mind. My motor is parked right outside the stadium. If a dodgy pen is what saves it from being trashed then so be it! I’ll take the pen!!

Once Persita had fallen behind it was always on the cards that alarge, restless crowd was gonna respond and they did in the only way they know how. By throwing things on to the field. As the visiting players started getting cramps and generally timewasting this only wound the fans up even more and perhaps put more pressure on the match officials, especially, the linesmen, who were closest to the terraces.

One missile throwing incident was stopped by arm waving stewards who reacted quickly while police looked on from the running track, occasionally waving their arms in a futile gesture to halt the barrage. Moments later at the other end it all went off again. This time a ball boy got one in the head and he was off. PS Bengkulu had a corner but no one seemed in a hurry to take it, both for reasons of time wasting and personal safety.

By the time injury time came some police and security officials were being kept permanently busy waving their arms…a dangerous thing to do near an airport and totally ineffective against irate fans on the other side of the fence.

Four minutes were indicated by the 4th official and, luckily for everyone except the visiting team, the ref saw fit to give a pen for Persita. Was it a pen? Who cares? I didn’t want the car damaged!

There then followed a lengthy delay while Bengkulu players pointed out politely to the ref that, with respect, they felt his decision was slightly erroneous and could he please change his mind. One visting player aimed a kick at the ref and was quickly shepherded away before he could be punished.

Finally the pen. Agus Salim made it 1-1, the whistle went and most people went home a bit more relieved and a whole lot happier than if they had lost.

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