Senegal clash with Ivory Coast abandoned
Senegal's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ivory Coast in Dakar had to be abandoned after crowd trouble at the Stade Leopold Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
Ivory Coast were leading 2-0 Saturday night and 6-2 on aggregate when the players, including a host of English Premier League stars, had to be escorted from the field by riot police.
Didier Drogba put The Elephants ahead in the 51st minute from a free kick before a fan ran on to the pitch in an attempt to confront him.
He was wrestled away by security, but it proved the prelude to more sustained trouble after the former Chelsea player increased Ivory Coast's lead from a disputed penalty in the 70th minute.
Fans started fires in the stands and objects were thrown as the players huddled in the center of the field.
After a delay of over half an hour, the match was eventually abandoned, confirmed by the official website of the Senegalese football federation, who said "the match ended in very sombre circumstances."
Ivory Coast are likely to be awarded the match and with it qualification for the finals of the tournament in South Africa next year.
"The match was halted and the Lions of Senegal will not qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Senegal will now incur a sanction from the Confederation of African Football (CAF)," said the APS, Senegal's official news agency, AFP reported.
EPL champions Manchester City, who had brothers Yaya and Koule Toure in the Ivory Coast line-up, said both players were unhurt.
"City's Yaya and Kolo Toure are both safe after crowd trouble halted play as Senegal hosted the Ivory Coast in Dakar," said a statement on the club's official website.
"Disturbances broke out as Didier Drogba put The Elephants 2-0 up, 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."
In other action, reigning champions Zambia prevailed in a marathon penalty shoot-out against Uganda to seal their qualification for next year's tournament in South Africa.
A total of 20 spot kicks were required at Uganda's Nelson Mandela stadium in Kampala before the 2012 winners ran out 9-8 winners after losing Saturday's second leg 1-0 (which made the aggregate score 1-1).
Captain Christopher Katongo failed to score with Zambia's first effort, before his teammates struck nine consecutive spot kicks to break Ugandan fan's hearts -- their team haven't reached the finals since losing to Ghana in the 1978 final.
The Black Stars also booked their place at the tournament thanks to a Afriyie Acquah goal which sealed a 1-0 win over Malawi at the Civo Stadium, Lilongwe and a 3-0 aggregate victory.
Nigeria are through to the finals, which get underway on January 19, after a thumping 6-1 (8-3 on aggregate) win over Liberia.
Efe Ambrose opened the scoring in the first minute with Ahmed Musa doubling the lead seven minutes before the break.
Victor Moses made it 3-0 three minutes into the second half with his Chelsea teammate John Obi Mikel adding a fourth from the penalty spot moments later.
Liberia's captain Gebro Duncan compounded the visitor's woes when he was sent off for diving in the 70th minute and two minutes later Ike Uche added Nigeria's fifth.
Substitute striker Patrick Wleh scored a consolation goal in the 81st minute before Moses claimed his second and Nigeria's sixth two minutes from the end.
Mali also enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 (7-1 on aggregate) win over Botswana.
Despite being held to a 0-0 draw, Tunisia are also through to the finals on the away goals rule -- their 2-2 draw in the first leg at the National Stadium in Freetown last month proving enough for the 2004 champions.
Morocco completed a resounding 4-0 victory in the second leg of their qualifier against Mozambique to win 4-2 on aggregate.
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