The Arsenal striker Gervinho was one of a host of Premiership players that had to be protected by a ring of security guards with riot shields in Senegal when rioting home fans forced the referee to abandon the game with Gervinho’s Ivory Coast team leading the home team by two goals to nil.
Didier Drogba had put the away team 1-0 up direct from a free-kick, but when the Ivory Coast were awarded a controversial penalty, which Drogba also converted, the Senegal supporters started fires in the stands and started raining missiles, including chairs, stones, cans and bottles down on the players.
The guards herded the players down the tunnel and then the 300 or so Ivory Coast supporters were brought onto the pitch to protect them from the home fans who continued rioting inside and outside the stadium.
The only Premiership team to give a statement on the matter so far was Manchester City, who had the brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure in the Ivory Coast team. They said on their official website: “City’s Yaya and Kolo Touré 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 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. Yaya and Kolo were both involved and early reports suggest the brothers are unharmed.”
FIFA are fully expected to allow the result to stand which means that the Ivory Coast will go through as 6-2 winners on aggregate, and Senegal can only expect to be on the receiving end of some stiff punishment from Football’s ruling body.