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A World Cup qualifying football match between Burma and Oman in Rangoon yesterday was stopped during the second half after Burmese fans threw water bottles and stones at the visiting team, which was leading the match 2-0.
A Burmese fan who attended the game said that the crowd erupted after the second goal. “Oman scored their first goal 15 minutes into the first half and at 30 minutes, they scored another one from a penalty kick. The crowd started to get rowdy after that and then began throwing water bottles.”
The game however continued and in the second half, Oman scored two more goals, sparking further fury among the Burmese in the stands.
“[Projectiles] started landing near to where the Oman coaches were sitting so they panicked and ran onto the field – everything went from bad to worse,” the fan said.
As more police arrived at the Thuwanna stadium to provide security for the Oman team members, the violence increased.
Requests by the Burmese Football Federation’s chairman, Zaw Zaw, and a police commander on duty for the crowd to calm down were ignored, finally causing the game to stop.
“Police commander Aung Than and U Zaw Zaw came down and pleaded the crowd to stop, speaking through loud speakers,” the fan said. “But [Oman] team players were so panicked they all gathered in the centre of the field so the crowd went even wilder.
“Attempts to control the riot went on for about an hour before the match was stopped at 5pm. The players left the field surrounded by security.”
The stadium was reportedly at its full 30,000-strong capacity but a clash with police was avoided.
The Voice News Journal’s website quoted Zaw Zaw saying that Burma may face a punishment by FIFA, including the prospect of being banned from hosting international matches in the future.
It is unclear when the match will resume, but FIFA may well award the game to Oman without a replay.