Dakar disgrace

The Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Senegal and Ivory Coast was abandoned on Saturday after home fans went on a violent rampage as their team slipped towards a humiliating defeat.

Fires were set in the stands while stones, chairs and bottles were thrown at the players after Ivory Coast went 2-0 ahead, 15 minutes from the end of the second leg of the tie. “After 40 minutes suspension, the decision was taken to abandon the match,” an official at the Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor told reporters.

Mayhem: Fans set fire to stands of the Léopold Sédar Senghor stadium during Ivory Coast’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against Senegal on Saturday. Pics/AFP

Violence erupted when Ivory Coast skipper Didier Drogba scored his second goal from the penalty spot.

That made the score 2-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate for Ivory Coast, putting them comfortably into the 2013 finals to be staged in South Africa and eliminating Senegal.

Ivory Coast fans helped onto the field to stay away from burning stands on Saturday.

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.

A cop in a tearing hurry

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).”

Drogba had opened the scoring for the visitors in the 51st minute. Meanwhile, English Premier League champions Manchester City said that brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure, who were playing for the Ivory Coast, appeared to escape the trouble unhurt. 


Ivory Coast praised for calm in storm 
Ivory Coast’s footballers were praised for their cool-headedness yesterday after they were targeted by stones, bottles and chairs hurled by angry Senegal fans during an Africa Cup of Nations match on Saturday.
The game at Stade Leopold Sedar was abandoned after Ivory Coast had taken a 2-0 lead on the night for a 6-2 aggregate in a qualifier for the 2013 finals in South Africa. As fires were set in the stands and missiles rained down, the players as well as some 300 visiting fans, were forced to take refuge in the centre circle.

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