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Malaysia holiday after football win over Indonesia

Malaysia holiday after football win over Indonesia

Malaysia declared Friday a public holiday to celebrate its victory over Indonesia in the bitterly contested final of a regional football tournament that dominated Twitter for days with hate messages by fans from both sides.
Malaysia beat neighbor Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate in the two-match final to win the ASEAN Suzuki Cup _ southeast Asia's premier tournament _ for the first time on Wednesday.
Malaysia beat Indonesia in the first leg played Sunday in Kuala Lumpur 3-0. It lost the second leg played in Jakarta on Wednesday 2-1, but won on aggregate over two legs.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the holiday in a statement to the national news agency Bernama late Wednesday, saying that the victory marked "the greatest night in Malaysian football."
"Well done, Malaysian Tigers! You played well as a team and have made your country very proud. Congratulations!" he posted from his Twitter account.
Twitter was also the scene of a furious exchange of insults and accusations by fans from the two countries, who have been traditional rivals not only in sports but also in asserting regional influence and their versions of the Malay culture shared by both. Another sore point in their rivalry is the frequent mistreatment of Indonesian maids by Malaysian employers.
Furious Indonesians accused Malaysia of unfairly winning the first leg, alleging fans in Kuala Lumpur distracted Indonesian players by directing bright green beams from laser pens into their eyes.
During the game, officials told fans to stop using the pointers after Indonesia's goalkeeper and another player complained. Malaysia's three goals came after the directive.
Fearing revenge attacks, Wednesday's match in Jakarta was played amid high security with armored personnel carriers deployed outside the stadium. Malaysian officials were booed when they came out to inspect the pitch. But the game went off without violence.
On Tuesday, Indonesian fans managed to push the phrase "HATE MALAYSIA" to the top of the Twitter charts for an hour.
As Malaysians were glued to televisions Wednesday, Twitter was awash with comments on the match. Malaysian goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat even made it into Twitter's global "Trending Topics" chart as one of the most popular topics.
Other phrases among the top 10 trending were "Congratulations Malaysia," "loveindonesia" and "garudafightsback," a reference to the mythical Indonesia bird.
Indonesia _ with a population of nearly 240 million people compared to Malaysia's 28 million _ has Asia's largest numbers of Twitter users by country.


Updated : 2021-03-01 20:44 GMT+08:00