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Sept 8 (Reuters) - The World Cup qualifier between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia at Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor on Tuesday was abandoned just before fulltime because of crowd trouble.
The visiting Saudi Arabia team were leading 2-1 in the Group A Asian qualifier when play was stopped in the 87th minute after fans launched flares and fireworks on to the pitch, local media reported.
Players from both teams left the pitch as smoke began filling the ground and did not return. The match was later abandoned with the outcome to be decided by the sport’s world governing body FIFA.
Malaysia led 1-0 when Mohd Safiq Rahim scored in the 70th minute but Saudi Arabia equalised three minutes later through Taisir Al-Jassim and took the lead after 76 minutes when Mohammed Al-Sahlawi scored.
Malaysia are bottom of Group A after suffering a record 10-0 loss to United Arab Emirates last week.
Dollah Salleh resigned as coach upon returning to Kuala Lumpur on Friday and the Football Association of Malaysia appointed former international midfielder Ong Kim Swee as caretaker.
In the lead-up to Tuesday’s match, Ong asked disgruntled Malaysian supporters not to disrupt the game after the supporters’ group Ultras Malaya called on fans to protest at the team’s poor performances.
Local media said hundreds of extra police had been deployed at the match in case there was trouble.
Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin later blamed the unruly fans and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), saying they had failed to control the situation.
“FAM lost control of their own stadium. Fans throwing flares were wrong. Both at fault tonight,” Khairy said in a tweet.
Reporting by Julian Linden in Singapore; Editing by Ed Osmond