No one talked about the game – Malaysia’s World Cup qualifying Asian Zone Group A match against Saudi Arabia, which was abandoned in the 88th minute with the visitors leading 2-1.
All talk was about the unruly group letting off fireworks, flares and smoke bombs onto the pitch and the assault of some Saudi fans.
So, when Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) entertain Perak in the opening Group B match of the Malaysia Cup competition at the Larkin Stadium on Friday, let’s pray that sanity prevails in the stands and it’s the action on the field that takes centrestage.
Last month, 11 fans were charged in the magistrate’s court in Johor Baru under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955 with using indecent, threatening, abusive or insulting words or with behaving in a threatening or insulting manner.
Then, JDT had defeated Perak 4-1 in a Super League match amidst flares and fireworks being aimed at the grandstand where the Perak fans were seated. Two police officers suffered head injuries and had to receive three stitches while another hurt his right arm.
That’s not all. Last year, the FAM disciplinary committee fined the Perak FA RM140,000 and ordered the Perak team to play four of their Super League home matches in an empty stadium due to crowd trouble involving the matches against JDT and Selangor.
There is definitely bad blood between these two teams – and their fans.
Hopefully, there will be increased security at the Larkin Stadium to prevent any untoward incident.
That is not the only match that will come under the microscope.
The Selangor-Kelantan Group C match on Saturday is another. And it will be held at the Shah Alam Stadium, the venue of Tuesday’s mayhem.
The good news though is that the Police and the Selangor FA (FAS) officials met on Thursday to discuss ways to improve security.
In other development, the FAM executive committee have also called for a press conference at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya on Friday.
They are expected to discuss three main issues – FAM president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad’s resignation, Tuesday’s Malaysia-Saudi Arabia match and the overall management plans for the national team.