14 October 2012

West Africa: Riot Stops Play as Côte d'Ivoire Beats Senegal in Can Qualifier

A riot erupted at Dakar's football stadium on Saturday as Senegal was eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations, losing two-nil to Côte d'Ivoire. Fires were started, stones thrown and the pitch invaded just before the match was due to end.

"Ten minutes before the end of the match, as soon as the result seemed to be decided, masses of spectators started to leave the stadium," reports RFI's Farid Achache. "Senegalese flags were burnt in the stands and, as a security measure, the referee stopped the game."

Supporters responded by throwing projectiles and a fire broke out. Côte d'Ivoire fans had to take refuge on the pitch to escape the home fans.

Police used tear gas and drove a vehicle onto the pitch to rescue officials.

The violence was sparked by a second goal by Ivorian attacker Didier Drogba, which left Senegal two-nil down.

Senegal is likely to be punished for the behaviour of its fans and, in any case, will not be going to the Cup of Nations in South Africa from 19 January to 10 February, but the African Foootball Confederation's headquarters in Cairo was closed on Sunday.

Also on Saturday, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and title-holders Zambia qualified.

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