Malaysia, Indonesia fans told to behave in tense SEA Games semifinal

Malaysia and Indonesia have warned their fans to be on their best behaviour ahead of their Southeast (SEA) Asian Games semifinal at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday after a gaffe by the organising committee created bad blood.

An upside down image of the Indonesian flag appeared in the official SEA Games souvenir booklet, drawing outrage from Malaysia's neighbours.

This led to Malaysia Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin issuing an apology to Indonesia president Joko Widodo after disparaging remarks about the mistake on social media.

Even so, the anger has not subsided, so both coaches reminded fans about being on their best behaviour at the stadium.

"This is a football match, and we want to see good quality football on the pitch and not any disturbances off it," Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee told ESPN FC.

"I hope the fans come well behaved not only during the match, but also after the game is over."

Indonesia assistant coach Bima Sakti also sent out a message to the 10,000 Indonesian fans who are expected to flock to Shah Alam Stadium.

"We are neighbours after all, and I hope the spirit of brotherhood between both fans will remain strong [on Saturday]," Bima said.

Possible animosities aside, this will be a cracking last four clash in front of a noisy crowd of 80,000. The sides met as recently as last month at the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Bangkok, with Malaysia winning 3-0 in the opening match.

But since then, the Merah Putih are unbeaten, and clinched their last four berth in the final Group B match after beating Cambodia 2-0. They also drew 1-1 with holders Thailand.

Ong has stressed to his players not to come into this match with the mindset of walking over their opponents.

"Indonesia have improved tremendously after losing to us in Bangkok. This is a different team from the one we played the last time and we will be wary of all their players," Ong said.

Malaysia are on a roll themselves, having finished top of Group A with a perfect record. They registered 2-1 victories over Brunei and Singapore, followed by 3-1 wins against Myanmar and Laos.

Ong does not have any suspension or injury concerns for the game, and will most likely start with N. Thanabalan, Jafri Firdaus Chew and Safawi Rasid in a three-pronged attack. Irfan Zakaria, Adib Zainudidin and Adam Nor Azlin could once again form the central defence, with Haziq Nadzli in goal.

Indonesia, meanwhile, will be missing their captain Hansamu Pranata through suspension, along with Muhammad Hargianto and Marinus Maryanto.

"We have some missing players, but I have rotated my squad and we will have able deputies to start," Bima said.

Malaysia last clinched gold at the 2011 SEA Games after beating Indonesia on penalties in Jakarta, with Ong in charge.