Sparks fly in Terengganu

Sparks fly in Terengganu
Terengganu fans taunt riot police outside the stadium as Singaporean fans (bottom) stayed inside.

Ambulance torched, tear gas fired, but no Singaporean hurt in ruckus after dramatic semi-final

The referee was shoved and his assistant had a ball kicked at him in anger, in a dramatic match that saw an apparent game-changing goal disallowed for offside.

Vitriol spat out on the pitch at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium on Saturday night, sparking off the Terengganu fans in the stands after their team failed to overcome a 2-1 first-leg deficit in the Malaysian FA Cup semi-final, beating the LionsXII 3-2 on the night, but going out on the away goals rule.

What started with water bottles and seats being hurled onto the pitch escalated into the torching of an ambulance, a police vehicle being damaged, glass doors at the stadium smashed, and an attack on two buses chartered by Singaporean fans.

Kuala Terengganu police chief Idris Abdul Rafar told Malaysian media that 25 men were arrested.

Through it all, only one person associated with the Singapore side was known to have been hurt. Ironically, he was Malaysian.

"None of us were hurt, we're all fine. We had to wait till about 3am to leave the stadium, but the police made arrangements for us: our bus was escorted by their mobile squad and two lorries carrying about 100 officers all the way to the hotel," Singapore tour operator Akbar Hashim told The New Paper.

"But our bus was damaged quite badly. The driver was sleeping, and he was woken up by people banging on the bus, and he thought it was our fans rushing to get in. But, once the door opened, he was attacked - kicked and punched - by Terengganu fans.

"It was quite crazy that they attacked our bus, I know fans lose their cool sometimes, but our driver whom they attacked was Malaysian!"

Akbar revealed that the driver fought off the attackers and drove out of the stadium, but could not prevent damage to the bus.

"The windows were smashed and it will cost about $6,000 to repair."

While Akbar and the LionsXII fans were in the stadium protected by police, pandemonium reigned outside.

Fans, irate after referee Amirul Izwan had disallowed an 89th-minute Terengganu "goal" that would have seen the home team go through to the final this Saturday for offside, ran rampant.

Idris revealed that four of his men "sustained minor injuries", as an estimated 15,000 rioted.

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