The first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final match between Vietnam and host Malaysia on Sunday was marred by the violent wrath of local fans that prompted that country's sports minister to apologize.
On Monday, Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin offered his apology to Vietnamese supporters.
"These violent fans do not represent Malaysia. My sincere apologies on behalf of Malaysia for the actions of these small number of irresponsible thugs," Malaysian Insiders quoted his Facebook entry as saying.
"No excuse for such violence. Especially against guests in our country. Is this how we treat guests? It doesn't matter whether they are visitors or workers here, this is not Malaysian culture," he said.
"I condemn in the strongest term, the violence which took place at the AFF-Suzuki Cup semi-final fixture between Malaysia and Vietnam at the Shah Alam Stadium last night," the minister said in a statement issued later on Monday.
"Although only a small segment of Malaysian fans turned unruly, their violent conduct directed at visiting Vietnamese fans was completely unacceptable and has tarnished Malaysia's reputation."
Khairy voiced his concern about the prospect of retaliation from Vietnam fans in the second leg in Hanoi on Thursday and warned traveling fans to be vigilant, Reuters said.
Vietnam secured an impressive 2-1 first leg win away to Malaysia on Sunday and take a firm grip of their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final.
The incident happened around five minutes before the end of the match when nearly 5,000 Vietnamese fans were cheering the forthcoming victory of their national football team.
Vietnamese fans cheer after their team scored during the first leg of the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2014 semi final Vietnam against Malaysia at Shah Alam stadium in Kuala Lumpur December 7, 2014. Photo credit: Reuters
The Vietnam fans were attacked by hooligans who threw bottles and other objects, creating a messy chaos at the Shah Alam Stadium
, west of Kuala Lumpur
Some Malaysian hooligans even rushed to assault the Vietnamese fans, who tried to flee and had no intention of fighting back.
At least one Vietnam fan was injured in clashes at the end of Sunday’s rain-soaked match, AFP quoted a police official as saying, adding that five people were arrested.
Bottles and objects continued to be thrown even after Malaysian police arrived at the scene to quell the scuffles.
A Vietnamese man suffered injury in his head with blood flowing onto his face.
Tran Song Hai, a spokesman for Vietnam’s fan club, said Malaysian fans “reacted in uncivilized manner” after the Vietnam team fought back and took the lead.“They went straight to attack Vietnamese fans. They even burned fireworks to cause a mess after the match,” he said.
Tran Quoc Tuan, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), said he would report the case to the match organizers.
“VFF will also request the Football Association of Malaysia take strict measures against the people involved,” he said.
Khairy, the Malaysia sports minister, said he was waiting for a report on the incident from the police and the Football Association of Malaysia, but added that he had witnessed how a section of Malaysian fans turned unruly.
"These irresponsible people don't think what would happen to our fans when we play in Hanoi, Vietnam, for the second leg," he said.
Meanwhile, Harimau Malaya, a Facebook page of Malaysian football fans, also posted an apology to Vietnamese fans on Monday for “the shameful act of a small numbers uncivilized football morons causing injuries to your supporters.”
“They have ruined the good name of our footbaling culture... We hope the police will take action on those involved and sentence them to jail,” it said.
“We also hope your supporter especially those injured to lodge a police report by providing some of the pics here as evidence.”