Senegal eliminated from the African Cup of Nations following riots sparked by Didier Drogba double


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The Independent Football

Senegal have been eliminated from the African Cup of Nations following a riot which broke out during Saturday's match against Ivory Coast.

Seven Premier League players were involved when the disturbances broke out during the qualification match at the 60,000-capacity stadium in Dakar.

The match was eventually abandoned with Ivory Coast leading 2-0 on the night (6-2 on aggregate) after two Didier Drogba goals.

The Confederation of African Football has announced that the score when the match was abandoned will stand, meaning Ivory Coast qualify for next years tournament in South Africa, while Senegal do not.

CAF said in a statement: "CAF decided to officially confirm the result of the match as 2-0 in favour of Ivory Coast... and to consider Senegal the loser of the said match and eliminated from the competition without prejudice to any other sanctions that may be imposed by CAF disciplinary board."

CAF rules state: "If the referee is forced to stop the match before the end of the regular time because of invasion of the field or aggression against the visiting team, the host team shall be considered loser and shall be eliminated from the competition, without prejudice to the sanctions existing in the regulations."

The news means Newcastle strike pair Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé will not be called away from club duties during the tournament in January and February next year. West Ham's Mohamed Diame will also stay at home.

Manchester City's Yaya and Kolo Toure, Arsenal's Gervinho and Newcastle's Cheick Tiote, all of Ivory Coast, will be going to the tournament.

Saturday's violence was sparked by Ivory Coast's second goal, a Drogba penalty in the 70th minute.

Objects began to rain down on the pitch and fires broke out in the stands with supporters apparently angry over the home side's performance.

The players, including the seven from the Premier League, were escorted from the pitch by police who then fired tear gas into the packed stands.

With the match having been halted for around 40 minutes, the decision was taken to abandon the game. About 10 people were reported injured.

After the match Senegal team manager Ferdinand Coly said his side would accept any punishment.

“We are going to face some difficult days but Senegal will accept the sanctions,” he said on Sunday.

“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.”