SINGAPORE - They came from across the Causeway to enjoy a football match.
But the 150-odd Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) supporters who travelled to Singapore to watch their team's Malaysia Super League (MSL) match against the LionsXII at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday, claim that overly-stringent security officers turned their trip into a farce.
Most of them ended up watching a portion of the match on their mobile phones outside the stadium, JDT fan Zaman Nuri Hassan, who runs the "Luaskan Kuasa Mu Oh Johor Ku" Facebook fan page, told The New Paper yesterday.
Five Malaysians - a woman and four men - were arrested before the match for disorderly behaviour. They are out on bail and investigations are ongoing.
Mr Zaman said many JDT supporters were agitated when security officials at Jalan Besar told them to stay inside their buses even after they arrived late at the stadium.
He said the fans, who were in five buses, had left Larkin Stadium at 3pm, but were held up for almost two hours at the Woodlands Checkpoint as their buses were inspected.
After arriving at the stadium at 7.45pm - the kick-off time - they were made to wait even longer.
"We were already late, but they still wouldn't let us get off the bus," said Mr Zaman.
"The doors of the bus were opened, but they didn't let us go anywhere. We couldn't even leave the bus to pee.
"There was a mixture of security officers, some in all-black attire, some in yellow vests and some people in plainclothes taking pictures of us. Some of us saw it as provocation. For 30 minutes, we were forced to sit in the bus and just wait."
In response to TNP's queries, a police spokesman said: "The buses arrived at Jalan Besar Stadium late. The arrangement was for the buses to take turns to drive to the 'away' fan gate for alighting (and) the away fans would then be facilitated to enter the stadium to watch the match.
"The fans waiting in the buses were advised not to leave the buses as this would have caused further delay to the drop-off process. "There was a delay that night for the fans to enter the stadium as the liaison from the away fans were sorting out the ticket arrangements."
Mr Zaman claimed he was among the first busload of JDT fans to be allowed into the stadium.
By then, it was the 35th minute of the match, which JDT eventually won 3-2 through a controversial refereeing decision.
But that was not the end of the drama.
During the second-half, a large number of JDT fans began streaming out of their designated area at the stadium.
"At that point, we heard that three busloads of our supporters were not allowed into the stadium despite having tickets," Mr Zaman said.
"So we decided to boycott the game as a form of protest and to show unity with our fellow JDT fans.