By Les Tan/Red Sports
Video copyright of World Sport Group
Sunday, December 26, 2010 — After the controversial first leg final where Malaysia beat Indonesia 3-0, Malaysian head coach K. Rajagobal added fuel to the fire by suggesting that the lasers pointed at the Indonesian players could have come from Indonesian fans themselves.
Said the Malaysia coach on the affusuzukicup.com website: “The crowd in Malaysia was not that rowdy tonight although I don’t know where the lasers came from – it could have come from the Malaysian crowd or it could have come from the Indonesian crowd.”
The lasers were pointed at the Indonesian goalkeeper Markus Harison by unidentified fans among the 85,000-strong crowd and the referee stopped play for six minutes as a result.
The argument among supporters continues in cyberspace. On Twitter, #Malaysiacheatlaser was a hot topic trend. In Indonesia, #HATE MALAYSIA is trending in the top five.
Indonesia’s Antara news service reported that president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono telephoned his sports minister during the match and asked him to lodge a formal protest.
Meanwhile, The Jakarta Post is reporting that Indonesian fans are buying laser pointers in anticipation of the second leg final.
However, Indonesia head coach Alfred Riedl did not use it as an excuse for the shock loss.
“It affected our players especially our goalkeeper because they had lasers pointed at his face and I had to ask the fourth official to stop the game,” Riedl said.
“Of course, the lasers affected our players but I think that falling behind 1-0 had more of an effect on them.
“I have to ask the players how badly it affected them but I think that the using the laser pointers on opponents is a bad thing for sport and for football and I hope that we can stop it.”
Indonesia have gone from firm favourites to underdogs after the big loss, a fact Riedl conceded.
“Of course it will be very, very difficult to win 4-0 in the return game although I think that winning 3-0 over 90 minutes is possible although the chances are slim,” said Riedl.
“We were the clear favourites to win the tournament but after losing 3-0, we are now the outsiders. We will have to take a lot of risks and we must be patient. We will try but I think that we only have a five to 10 per cent chance of winning the tie.”
While Indonesian goalkeeper Markus Harison is taking a lot of online flak for his performance in the final, Riedl laid some of the blame at the feet of the Indonesian football association, saying that the FA distracted the team with non-football activities.
“So many things happened before the final, unnecessary things. All the time you guys (media) want to interview, take photos. Everytime we go somewhere, we have to close the doors (to the public). All the time we got activity from the media, public and the federation. This is not good,” Riedl was reported as saying at the post match conference by the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times.
The second leg final is scheduled for Wednesday, December 29th, in Jakarta.