A Crucial International Soccer Match Sparked A Massive Riot In Africa

Players dodged projectiles and hid under riot shields.

In the second leg of a qualifying match for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations — the most important soccer tournament in Africa — the Ivory Coast played Senegal in Dakar. The Ivory Coast was ahead 4-2 on aggregate after a first-leg victory, meaning Senegal needed a lopsided victory to qualify.

Didier Drogba put the Ivory Coast up 1-0 with a spectacular free kick, all but sealing Senegal’s exit from the tournament.

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Drogba later added a second goal from the penalty spot, and down 2-0, and the scene in Senegal turned ugly. Home fans started small fires around the stadium.

Stringer / Reuters

Police forces fired tear gas into the crowd, but it did little to deter rioters.

Stringer / Reuters

Stringer / Reuters

Fans threw stones, trash, cans, and whatever else they could find.

Associated Press / AP

Some players took cover cover under riot shields and ran off the pitch, others huddled near midfield and waited for vehicles to drive them away.

Associated Press / AP

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Stringer / Reuters

The Ivory Coast fans in attendance were in the greatest danger, as Senegalese fans soon began pelting them with stones. Many people jumped over the upper-level barricades to relative safety on the lower levels.

Stringer / Reuters

“The police told us to jump. We had to jump. It was very dangerous,” an Ivory Coast supporter told the BBC.

Stringer / Reuters

After the players had escaped, Ivory Coast fans were gathered in the center of the field and left to wait until the rioters dispersed.

Stringer / Reuters

A few fans had to be carried out of the stadium on stretchers, and many others suffered minor wounds.

Stringer / Reuters

The match was abandoned, meaning the Ivory Coast will advance to next year’s tournament and Senegal is eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations. According to the BBC, a Senegalese official expects heavy sanctions to be levied by the Confederation of African Football.

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