While Thai fans were ashamed and apologetic about their players’ antics during the SEA Games football final against Indonesia on Tuesday night, others were amused by them.
On the ASEAN Football Facebook page, posts about the game attracted thousands of comments, especially about the clashes between the players that resulted in seven red cards and 12 yellow cards.
Zul Fahmi Ramadhan commented: “This is the best movie! Sport, action, adventure, thriller.”
Hai Le wrote: “I am sure the Argentina vs France WC final was nothing compared to this match.”
The final ended in a 5-2 win for Indonesia, and was filled with unexpected drama and twists.
Indonesia, who beat Vietnam in the semi-finals, led by two goals at half-time.
In the second half Thailand first reduced the lead and then drew level at 2-2. Thai players celebrated wildly, running along the stands and into the Indonesian dugout, leading to a clash between the two teams.
At the beginning of extra time Indonesia once again took the lead, and the goal sparked another brawl. As a result, the referee had to hand red cards to Indonesian defender Komang Teguh Trisnanda Putra, Thai goalkeeper Soponvit Rakyart, two members of the Thai coaching staff and one member of the Indonesian coaching staff.
Thai center back Jonathan Khemdee received a second yellow card for a foul, leaving Thailand to play with nine men.
Indonesia then scored two more goals to won 5-2 and its first SEA Games gold medal in 32 years.
“A wonderful game for Indonesia,” Thai fan Natthawut Veeragitpanit commented.
“Sorry for the inappropriate celebration by the Thai players. Our young teams often lose discipline.”
Thonz Chomphun Phetchanah wrote: “As a Thai, I blame our men: They are grown men but act sillier than kids. I can’t accept this kind of behavior by our staff and players.”
Many fans found the fighting amusing, and almost all fans commenting from Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines agreed that Indonesia deserved to win.
“The game was so good,” wrote a Philippine commenter.
“Congratulations to Indonesia after many years of suffering. You deserve the gold medal this time.”
Thai commenter Narongsak Chiwimahannob said: “Congratulations to the clean champion Indonesia. Today Thailand lost face both on and off the field and went against the spirit of sports. Sorry about this incident. Fights like this shouldn’t happen again.”
Thai fan Nat Nattapon wrote: “I am watching football with more spice than ever. Ugly on and off the field. Shame for Southeast Asian football. We’ve spread ugliness to the world.”
More than 14 million people watched the final between Thailand and Indonesia for free on Vietnam Television’s Youtube channel.
Peak live viewership topped 1.8 million.