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Angry fans stop Malaysia-Saudi World Cup qualifier

A group of fans known as Ultras Malaya launched flares and fireworks onto the pitch during the 87th minute

Published: Updated:

Malaysia's World Cup qualifying Asian Zone Group A match against Saudi Arabia was halted before time after supporters threw objects onto the pitch.

A group of fans known as Ultras Malaya launched flares and fireworks onto the pitch during the 87th minute, forcing players, officials and fans to take cover.

Saudi Arabia was leading 2-1, with Malaysia's goal scored by Mohd Safiq Rahim in the 70th minute.

Officials cleared Shah Alam stadium, and after a lengthy suspension the match was formally called off. Police said 11 people had been arrested on charges of rioting.

Malaysia, which hosts the Asian Football Confederation headquarters, has long been plagued by fan violence and match-fixing.

At least one Saudi supporter was attacked. He told Al Arabiya News that at least 200 Malay attacked the small number of Saudi supporters.

“Everything started at the beginning of the second half, when dozens of local supporters threw flares and fireworks toward us,” he said.

“Policemen gathered us in a specific location inside the stadium, then put us in buses and left the location.”

Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin blamed the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and irresponsible fans for causing the match to be halted.

“FAM lost control of their own stadium. Fans throwing flares were wrong. Both at fault tonight,” Jamaluddin tweeted.