x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rioting fans force Senegal clash with Ivory Coast to be abandoned

Fans tried to attack Didier Drogba, hurled bottles onto the pitch and set fires in the stands after Senegal went down 6-2 on aggregate to the Ivory Coast in their African Cup of Nations qualifying match.

Newcastle's Cheick Tiote is among the Ivory Coast players escorted from the field under police protection after a riot by Senegal fans
Newcastle's Cheick Tiote is among the Ivory Coast players escorted from the field under police protection after a riot by Senegal fans

The African Cup of Nations qualifier between Senegal and Ivory Coast in Dakar was abandoned last night after fans rioted in the stands.

Ivory Coast were leading 2-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate when the match was stopped with around 15 minutes remaining at the Stade Leopold Senghor.

Fires were set in the stands while stones, chairs and bottles were thrown at the players by Senegal supporters.

As the missiles, which also included tin cans and water bombs, rained down on the pitch, and the players cowered in the centre-circle, security forces used tear gas to quell the trouble.

Both teams were then escorted to the safety of the dressing rooms before the stadium was evacuated.

Police also moved around 300 Ivory Coast fans from the stands into the middle of their pitch for their protection.

Play had already been temporarily halted ten minutes earlier after a supporter ran onto the pitch and almost reached Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba before being wrestled to the ground and escorted off the field.

Drogba had given his side the lead in the 51st minute with a free kick and the former Chelsea man then made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 70th minute.

Senegal sports minister El Hadji Malick Gakou said around 10 people suffered minor injuries including himself after he was hit by a stone.

"The match was halted and the Lions of Senegal will not qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations," said the APS, Senegal's official news agency.

"Senegal will now incur a sanction from the Confederation of African Football (CAF)."

A host of English Premier League-based players were involved in the match, including Newcastle pair Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse lining up for Senegal, along with West Ham's Mohamed Diame.

In Ivory Coast's starting line-up were Arsenal striker Gervinho, Manchester City brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure, and Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote.

"Yaya and Kolo were both involved in the second leg clash and early reports suggest the brothers are unharmed," said a statement on Manchester City's website.

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