News / Asia

Malaysian Laser Ploy Angers Indonesian Football Fans

Malaysia football fans hold up national flags during the AFF Cup 2010 first leg finals football final match held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Dec. 26, 2010.
Malaysia football fans hold up national flags during the AFF Cup 2010 first leg finals football final match held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Dec. 26, 2010.
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Sports fans in Indonesia are outraged after members of the national football team complained of being distracted by fans with hand-held laser beams during a crucial match in Malaysia.

The issue dominated social networking sites Monday, briefly becoming the top item worldwide on Twitter. Malaysia's sports minister said he is embarrassed by what had happened.  Indonesia's Antara news service said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked officials to lodge a formal protest.

Indonesia's players walked off the field for several minutes in protest before going on to a 3-0 loss Sunday evening in the first leg of the ASEAN Football Federation final. They said Malaysian fans were directing laser pens into the faces of players, including the goalkeeper, at key moments.

Malaysian Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said he was "not happy at all" about his countrymen's unsporting behavior, adding that he had been embarrassed in front of his Indonesian guests.

The issue registered among the most popular topics on Twitter after the match, with the phrase "malaysiacheaterlaser" ranking number one for almost an hour.

Antara reported that Yudhoyono, who watched the contest on television, telephoned Indonesia's sports minister while the match was still in progress to instruct him to lodge a formal protest.

The second leg of the final takes place Wednesday in Jakarta.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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