Posted : 2012-02-23 16:30
Updated : 2012-02-23 16:30

Korea-Oman match marred by fan disturbances

Korean midfielder Han Guk-young goes to ground after being hit by firecracker thrown by Omani fans during their qualifier for the Londong Olympics in Muscat, Oman, Wednesday. / Yonhap

By Cho Mu-hyun

The Olympic team’s overwhelming victory away to Oman on Thursday was marred by unsavory behavior from the home spectators.

Their over-enthusiastic support led to a Korean player being hit by on object thrown from the crowd which led to a 10-minute delay of the game in the second half.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) stated Thursday that it is reviewing the incident and is considering filing a petition with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to impose sanctions on the Oman Football Association (OFA).

“Since the situation is clear, we believe a punitive measure will naturally follow (against the OFA),” said an associate of the KFA. “If that doesn’t happen, we will ask for sanctions.”

The home side’s football governing body is punished if their fans cause a disturbance that disrupts the game.

The Omani crowd blew horns and beat drums throughout the match and used phones’ speakers to play songs loud enough to fill the Al Seeb Sports Stadium.

The situation escalated when a firecracker thrown by a fan halted a free kick being taken by Oman on 28 minutes, while bottles and garbage were hurled onto the field.

After Korea’s third goal, more objects were thrown with escalating tension, with one of them hitting Korean midfielder Han Guk-young in the face.

The referee halted the game to clear water bottles and other items and to calm the angry crowd. The game restarted but was promptly stopped again after a water bottle aimed at goal keeper Lee Beom-young again stopped the tie.

Armed soldiers were called in and took positions in front of the spectators and the match finally continued. Stoppage time exceeded 10 minutes.

“I never had a game like this,” said Han. “I was surprised and really scared.”

Manager Hong Myung-bo condemned the incident saying, “I am greatly disappointed that such an incident happened in a match between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a group. If things do not improve Asian football can never catch up to Europe and other football powerhouses."

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