39 goals scored in Macau FA Cup game as players protest against World Cup withdrawal
Fans certainly got their money’s worth in a Macau FA Cup match on Sunday as they saw 39 goals fly in – but all was not as it seemed.
Ka I beat Hang Sai 21-18 in the Taca de Macau, in the special administrative region of China.
Players were allowed to score unchallenged and at one stage a goalkeeper got in on the action, running up the pitch to score.
Ka I had led 6-5 at half-time and the scoreboard stopped working at 21-17.
It transpired the players were protesting against the Macau Football Association’s decision to withdraw the national team from a World Cup 2022 qualifier against Sri Lanka over security concerns.
Macau, who led Sri Lanka 1-0 after their first meeting in China, had been due to play the return leg in Colombo last Tuesday.
But the Macau FA refused to let the team travel due to the recent terrorist attacks in the country and asked for the game to be played at a neutral venue.
“It might be that they are not satisfied with the (arrangement) of the World Cup qualifiers, and they just showed their discontent,” Hang Sai’s coach told Teledifusao de Macau.
“They had their own way of expressing their thoughts. The club and I as a coach would respect that.”
The Macau Football Association told BBC Sport it is investigating, while both clubs have launched internal investigations.
In a statement, Ka I apologised and said they had not been aware of the players’ plan in advance.
More than 250 people were killed and 500 others injured in bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, but the country’s football federation said it “fulfilled all security requirements” for the game.
Macau’s players declared they wanted to play the game in Sri Lanka and offered to waive the FA’s responsibility for them.
Captain Nicholas Torrao has written to Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation asking for the game to be rescheduled.
“We the players are totally devastated with the cancellation of our second leg match against Sri Lanka, in their home ground due to the refusal of our Macau Football Association to travel,” he wrote. “Please allow a chance for the players to give their hearts for this beautiful game.”