Simply electrifying ! That was the only way to describe the atmosphere amid scenes of much excitement and anticipation in Bukit Jalil as fans, young and old, stood outside the National Stadium yesterday for the World Cup second round, return leg qualifying match hours before the 8.45pm kick-off.
The "Causeway battle" between Malaysia and Singapore drew a sell-out crowd as all 87,000 tickets were taken up a day before the match.
However, tickets were available on the black market, with each sold at RM300 by touts at the National Stadium and also on local websites.
Asked about the sale of tickets on the black market, FA of Malaysia (FAM) ticketing committee chairman Datuk S. Sivasundram said efforts would be made to eradicate this problem in future.
"It is sometimes tough to control this as once tickets are sold over the counter, it is entirely up to the fans to do whatever they want with them," said Sivasundram at the National Stadium yesterday.
The stadium gates were opened at 5pm and thousands of fans rushed in to get a seat while some hung their banners around sections of the terraces.
Some banners read: "100 per cent Malaysians, NO FOREIGNERS", "Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku" and "Musuhnya Habis Binasa".
It was clear that the fans, led by the national team's official fan club -- Ultras Malaya -- were all hyped up for the match.
In the parking lot, music blared, and the smell of "kebab" and "kacang kukus" filled the air as fans, clad mostly in blue and yellow mingled, in harmony.
There was a small group of Singapore fans in the stadium but they could not be heard due to the deafening noise coming from the local fans.
Security was also tight as more than 1,500 enforcement officers were stationed in and outside the stadium as early as 3pm.
Fans waved banners, blew horns and did the Mexican wave before the kick-off. They also cheered when the national players entered the pitch for their warm-up.
FAM vice-president Hamidin Amin said that in his years of involvement in football, he has never seen such enthusiasm from local fans.
"The response from the fans is tremendous. It is a historic day for Malaysian football in terms of fans turnout," he said.
Among the VIPs who watched the match were FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.