Monday, May 18, 2015


Post Match Riot Shifts Focus From Cracking Semi Final

It is disappointing that a pulsating cup tie that ticked all the right boxes for local football should be remembered for the violence that followed.

Terengganu were leading 3-2 in their Malaysia FA Cup semi final second leg tie against LionsXII when a goal was disallowed for offside in the final minute. Credit to the match officials for having the balls to do that though of course officials from the Malaysian side were less happy and want the decision investigated.

Had the goal stood then it would have been Terengganu who would have been heading to KL for this weekends final against Kelantan but as it was the Singaporeans are now planning a weekend away.

Following the game an element of the home support went on the rampage, smashing up parts of the stadium and attacking coaches carrying away supporters home. The fact that two players saw red in the wake of the decision to disallow the goal may or may not have made matters worse; if they had just carried on with the game perhaps that may have eased the tension but we are talking about an FA Cup semi final. We are talking the last minute. You want drama, it had drama. And anyway isn't it time people took responsibility for their own actions and not just blame others?

It is just a shame the post match scenes dominated the headlines for the game itself looked to be a cracker, well worth remembering for superbly taken goals from Khairul Amri (LionsXII) and Norshahrul (Terengganu).

At a time when a Malaysian fan group is calling for supporters to boycott high profile but ultimately meaningless friendlies against overpaid, unfit EPL stars these are headlines the local game just does not need.

Officials are concerned a high profile anti hooliganism campaign is not working and there now calls for games to be played in empty stadiums if they are considered high risk. That would be a shame as it would essentially negate the good work some fan groups are doing to make the terraces a more lively place  and perhaps there should be questions asked about security procedures in and around stadiums.

But fans must play their part. There are winners and there are losers in football as there are in life. A goal disallowed in the final minute is part of the game...unfortunately when it happens in this part of the world there will always be suspicions and conspiracy theories given the history and reputation of match fixing. Setting fire to ambulances? Let's hope one of those responsible does not need emergency care himself anytime soon and there is no vehicle available.

On a night when Malaysian football should have been the winner we are left with the ashes of a riot and broken glass to tell their own sorry tale.

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