Oct 15, 2012, 12:34 PM EDT
So you know it’s an official riot when players and fans have to be evacuated to the center of the playing field and trucks are driven in to take them to safety. There was also tear gas, fire and chunks of concrete at the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifying match on Saturday in Dakar. Riot police had to escort players from the Ivory Coast of off the field, among them Didier Drogba, who had just scored his team’s second goal on a penalty kick in the match’s 76th minute. That’s when Senegal fans began hurling rocks and bottles and setting fires at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium. The match was suspended for about 20 minutes, then abandoned.
According to the BBC, about 10 people — among them Senegalese Sports Minister Hadji Malick Gakou — were injured, although none of the injuries were considered serious.
The stands became empty after police fired teargas to disperse the unruly fans, who hurled plastic bottles onto the pitch while also burning flags and newspapers that turned the entire atmosphere at the Sedar Senghor Stadium hostile.
For close to 25 minutes, the players and security were left speechless on the pitch unsure of the fate of the game as hundreds of other Ivory Coast supporters, who were fleeing from danger, joined them in the inner perimeter for safety.
It all started when Drogba was awarded a penalty lick in the 76th minute, and a Senegal fan (seen below) decided to register his protest by running onto the field to attack him. He was tackled by security first, however.
Players and officials had to be escorted from the field by riot police.
Chunks of rubble litter the playi … hey, is that my wallet?
Senegal officials issued an apology today.
“We are going to face some difficult days but Senegal will accept the sanctions,” said former international Coly.
“In the meantime, we must apologise to the Ivory Coast and make sure we do everything to avoid this happening again. I feel great sadness because this type of thing has no place on a football pitch or anywhere else.
“For the players, it was traumatic, especially the young ones. The psychological work needed will be extremely difficult.”
And remember, this was just a qualifying match — the actual tournament doesn’t get underway until January. Fun fact: The tournament was supposed to be held in Libya, which would have been really fun.
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