— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 8, 2015
The qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018 are already in full swing. Straight off the heels of a 10-0 defeat to the United Arab Emirates last week, Malaysia were back on the pitch, battling another Gulf nation, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Asian Zone Group A. The Malaysian team was trailing 2-1, and in the 87th minute, a group of fans known as the Ultras Malaya had enough.
Flares in the Malaysia-Saudi Arabia matched caused it to be abandoned. Great picture though pic.twitter.com/lOTYapesjp
— Juan Direction (@JuanDirection57) September 8, 2015
Malaysia vs Saudi Arabia
World Cup Qualifying
— Casuals Life !! (@PyroManiatics) September 8, 2015
Just three minutes before the end of full-time, and the conclusion of the match, the passionate fans intervened. Unwilling to let Malaysia lose the match, and risk not qualifying for Russia 2018, they took a drastic step. Fireworks and flares reigned down onto the pitch in the 87th minute.
The incredible images of the physical manifestation of the fans’ fury have left the world in awe. The disruption of the match lead to the arrest of eleven of the self-proclaimed Ultra Malayas group of fans.
— Malaysian Insider (@tm_insider) September 9, 2015
But, ultimately, the behaviour was successful. Though mere minutes from the end and a Saudi Arabian victory, FIFA declared the match suspended. The scores count for nothing, and there will have to be a rematch. For the plucky eleven Ultra Malayas, imprisonment may have been but a small price to pay for national pride.