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Fan violence leads to abandoned game

The African Nations Cup qualifier between Senegal and Ivory Coast in Dakar was abandoned Saturday amid chaotic scenes with home fans rioting as their team faced missing January's finals in South Africa.

The game turned violent after Didier Drogba scored his second goal on a penalty kick for Ivory Coast in the 70th minute. That made the second-leg match 2-0 and 6-2 on aggregate.

Play was temporarily halted in the 65th minute when a fan charged the field at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium and almost reached Drogba but was stopped. After the goal, Senegalese fans began burning objects in the stands. The Senegalese Press Agency reported one of the match officials was hit by a projectile, as the players and coaching staff of both sides gathered in the centre circle.

The match was stopped around the 73rd minute.

The Ivorian fans had to flee onto the pitch, joining their national team, before being led to safety by the police. The match was abandoned 40 minutes later.

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

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

City said on its official website: "City's Yaya and Kolo Toure are both safe after crowd trouble halted play as Senegal hosted the Ivory Coast in Dakar. Disturbances broke out as Didier Drogba put the Elephants up 2-0, after what was deemed a controversial penalty decision in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Fires were started in the stands at Stade Leopold Senghor and missiles were launched on to the pitch before the players were escorted to safety. Yaya and Kolo were both involved in the second leg clash and early reports suggest the brothers are unharmed."

It is expected the CAF will order the result to stand and Ivory Coast will qualify.

Senegal failed to qualify for the 2010 finals and have not won a match at the African Nations Cup since reaching the quarterfinals in 2006.

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association was used in this report.


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