Prior to the match on September 5, Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had already sent delegations over to Indonesia to discuss and plan on security matters, not once but twice. However despite promises of tightening security and the presence of approximately 11,000 personnel, very little was done to protect the traveling Malaysian supporters.
Even though the away support arrive at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in bus and escorted by police, they were still pelted by stones upon alighting from the bus and had to be rushed inside their seating section for protection. But things really took a turn for the worse inside the stadium.
While there were plenty of security personnel present in the Malaysian section, most were seen sitting down and enjoying the game. Nothing was down when Indonesian fans crowded the upper tier just above the Malaysian section and started shouting abuse right from the get go.
When things like water bottles were being thrown from that particular upper tier, it got the security personnel in the Malaysian section up from their seats. But all they did was wave their arms trying to clam Indonesian supporters down when they should have move in and at the very least, move those fans further away from the away section.
"FAM are extremely disappointed with the crowd disturbance during the Indonesia and Malaysia yesterday at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. Fairplay and professionalism were shown by both sets of players and officials on the pitch last night, but the game was marred by incidents off the pitch.
"FAM strongly believe our counterparts, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), via the local authorities, have failed to anticipate the incidents that took place, thus failing to deliver the promises made prior to the match and in general, failing to control the behaviour of their fans - pre, during and post-match which ultimately tarnished the image of Indonesian football.
"In spite of the police escort from the airport to the stadium and vice versa arranged for the 300 traveling Malaysian fans in 6 buses, the situation descended into chaos and we are bitterly disappointed that the local organising committee failed to uphold their end of the agreement.
"There is no place in football for hooliganism and gangsterism in any form and as such, we have decided to take action and are in the midst of compiling the evidence to report last night’s incidents to the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)," said Stuart Ramalingam in his press release.
The situation got particularly tensed after Syafiq Ahmad put Malaysia levelled for the second time in the match as the home fans took their frustration out on the away fans. Water bottles were upgraded into flares and metal objects, as fans started climbing over the barriers looking to get to the away section.
It took the security around 10 minutes to get the Indonesian fans back into their own section as play was stopped for fears of things escalating towards the pitch area. The match resumed afterwards but boiling point was reached after Mohamadou Sumareh put away the winner in the 8th minute of added time.
Missiles of various objects were rapidly launched and the final whistle of the match ensured with the Malaysian fans being ushered quickly away from their seats and into the inner sanctum of the stadium. They were kept inside the ground while streets were being cleared outside. All in all, a very ugly day for Southeast Asian football.
AFC and FIFA are not likely to take this incident lightly but the Indonesia versus Thailand match on September 10 could come too soon for any sanction or punishment to be given out. What is more likely is that Indonesia's subsequent home match which is against Vietnam on October 15 could be played behind closed doors or even worse, move elsewhere.
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