Mon, 07 Jul 2003

Riot mars Perseden, PSIS match

I Wayan Juniartha, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Balinese soccer fans enraged by a refereeing decision rioted at the Ngurah Rai Stadium on Sunday, forcing the abandonment of a game between Denpasar-based Perseden and Semarang-based PSIS.

The local fans, apparently angered by a decision not to award Perseden a penalty kick, forced their way through a security fence, stormed the pitch, set fire to the sound system speakers and advertising banners and threw stones through most of the stadium's glass window.

Several rioters sustained minor injuries from police using batons or by stones thrown by the crowd.

The outnumbered police officers did manage to evacuate the referee, Harmuji, to a police station across the street from the stadium.

PSIS players were later escorted by police from the stadium.

The riot erupted in the 85th minute of the match with the score 1-1 when Perseden striker Gbeneme Friday was roughly tackled inside PSIS's penalty box.

The home players, led by captain Yeyen Tumena, launched a protest, demanding a penalty shot. However, Referee Harmuji insisted the tackle was clean, a decision that infuriated the fans.

Assisted by at least 60 officers from the police's elite Mobile Brigade, the on-duty riot police gradually dispersed the crowd, and by 8 p.m. local time (7 p.m. Jakarta time), the situation was under control.

PSIS's Indrianto Nugroho shocked the home fans with a goal in the second minute. Achmad Junaidi equalized with a goal after 35 minutes.