Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The most unsportmenlike match: Indonesia vs Thailand (Tiger Cuo 1998)

On August 31st, 1998, Indonesia and Thailand met at the last match of the Group A of the Tiger Cup.  The game was one of the most unsportmenlike games in the history of football.  A day earlier, the host Vietnam finished second in the group on goal difference after beating Malaysia by only a single goal.  Thus, the winner of Group A must play Vietnam at the semifinal in Hanoi and Singapore the Group B winner was perceived as the easier opponent.  Besides, all of Gorup A matches were played in Ho Chi Minh City and both Indonesia and Thailand did not want to move to Hanoi for the semifinal.  At the start of the match, Indonesia was leading the Group by 2 points.  They would finish first with a draw.

The first half was a boring match, with both teams barely making an attempt to score. During the second half both teams scored and the match was 2-2 draw heading toward injury time. Then, during injury time, Indonesian defender Mursyid Effendi deliberately scored an own goal, despite the Thai's attempts to stop him doing so.  The Thais immediately tried to score an own goal, but it was too late,  Thailand finished as the group winner.

In the semi-finals, Thailand lost to Vietnam, and Indonesia also lost to Singapore. In the final,  Singapore surprised the host by winning 1-0.  Both Thailand and Indonesia were punished for unsportmenship and Mursyid Effendi was banned from football for life.

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

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