Riot ends Lions-Elephants match
Ivory Coast have qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations following a two-goal win over regional rivals Senegal at the Leopold Senghor Stadium in Dakar on Saturday, in a match that was suspended in the 76th minutes due to a stampede caused by angry local fans.
The Teranga Lions needed two goals to blot out their deficit from the first leg that ended 4-2 in favour of the Elephants, but after toiling in vain for an opening goal in first half, the hosts had issues compounded when former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba broke the deadlock via a free kick early into the second half to keep chances for a ticket hanging by a thread.
Senegal went underway with high spirits but their repetitive failures to grab a worthwhile finishing tended to tip their composure off balance, adding to that, the impatient chants for goals from the 60 000 crowd.
Newcastle’s duo Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba, and Dame Ndoye endeavoured to keep alive the pressure on the visitors but the lack of experience of the team, essentially composed of players from the U23 squad that participated in the 2012 London Olympic football tournament, hindered flow and sharpness, especially upfront and in the midfield.
Arsenal’s Gervinho had his side’s first goal chance but after meandering his way into the box failed to unleash on time before a defender could clear the danger.
Tiote Cheick and Drogba both sustained injuries in first half, but could continue the vital meeting, with the Shanghai Shenhua new signing opening the scoring just after the break and completing a brace in the 69th minute through a penalty after a Senegalese touched the ball with an arm in the box.
The meeting degenerated afterwards as fans began throwing plastic bottles into the pitch and burning paper materials to produce smoky clouds in the stadium that prompted the Tunisian referee to interrupt the session.
After consultations with the match commissioner and security official, Ivory Coast’s 2-0 victory was officially confirmed and the game ended.
Security vehicles were later brought into the pitch to pick the players and officials, as police continued chasing unruly fans from the entire facility using teargas.
Ivorians fans were later escorted by security operatives to their hotels. An official at the Ivory Coast embassy in Dakar, Diaby Moussa, told supersport.com that their fans were all safe as well as the players.
"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)."
additional reporting by SAPA AFP