AFF Suzuki Cup aftermath: Singapore score own goals on and off the pitch

Singapore supporters hurling water bottles at the tunnel as the Malaysian players departed the pitch after their 3-1 AFF Suzuki Cup win over the Lions at the National Stadium on Nov 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: TNP 
Singapore supporters hurling water bottles at the tunnel as the Malaysian players departed the pitch after their 3-1 AFF Suzuki Cup win over the Lions at the National Stadium on Nov 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: TNP 

SINGAPORE - On or off the pitch, it has not been a happy AFF Suzuki Cup campaign for the Lions. 

A disastrous defence of their South-east Asian football crown has been accompanied by unsportsmanlike behaviour, poor conduct by fans and accusations of being an inadequate host during the tournament. 

Singapore's controversial 3-1 defeat to Malaysia in front of nearly 50,000 fans at the National Stadium on Nov 29 was exacerbated by the actions of some local supporters, who hurled bottles on the pitch and prevented the match referees from departing.

Riot police had to be called in to escort the officials off the field.

Even as the lacklustre performances of the players, as well as coach Bernd Stange's tactics, were igniting fierce debate online, a video has emerged to cast doubt over the sportsmanship of Singapore's players.

Facebook user Jeffry Catz on Monday posted a short clip of an unidentified player losing his cool in the dug-out during the game. He had to be physically restrained by physiotherapist Nurhafizah Abu Sujad and substitute goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

 

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It garnered more than 80,000 views and was shared almost 1,800 times in just five hours, with Catz calling for the Football Association of Singapore to act on what he deemed a "disgrace". 

Malaysian fans have taken to social media to rebuke the Republic as poor hosts, posting inflammatory remarks, photos of derogatory posters and even a video which showed one supporter mocking their rival fans following the Tigers' last-gasp victory.

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Last week, the country's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also criticised Singapore authorities' alleged treatment of Malaysian fans attempting to cross the Causeway for the tournament. He claimed that some fans who wanted to watch the match between Malaysia and Myanmar on Nov 22 were turned away at the Tuas immigration checkpoint.

mklee@sph.com.sg