Senegal vs Ivory Coast called off after pitch invasion - pics
Senegal vs Ivory Coast called off after pitch invasion
Fans rush to outfield to mob players in closing stages, with at least one player hauled to ground
An international friendly between Ivory Coast and Senegal in France was abandoned on Monday night after fans invaded the pitch. One fan rugby tackled Senegal's Lamine Gassama.
Referee Tony Chapron called the game off in the 88th minute, with the score level at 1-1 after supporters ran onto the field of play for the third time.
"Spectators jumped fences to breach security before violence in the terraces boiled over onto the turf," reports The Sun, which adds that the image of Gassama being hauled to the ground illustrates the "carnage" at the 20,000 seater arena on the outskirts of Paris.
The match was not a sell-out and fans were "free to roam around the stadium", says the paper. Many were seen clambering over fences to get into the venue shortly before the final pitch invasion.
French journalist Herve Penot told the BBC that the incident "could have been very serious" but added: "I wouldn't say the people were violent, it was much more about trying to be with the players. But you never know what can happen, the organisation was a disaster, it was incredible.
"After 20-30 minutes a couple of people were on the pitch, then they couldn't start the second-half because they had people on the pitch and the referee said if it happens again he will stop the game. It was very messy."
The BBC says that it was the second match in five years between the two countries to be cut short because of crowd disturbances. "Senegal were disqualified from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations when a riot led to a playoff between the sides being abandoned."
Liverpool striker Sadio Mane had given Senegal the lead on 67 minutes with a penalty, but Fulham's Cyriac Gohi Bi equalised for Ivory Coast soon afterwards.
They were not the only English-based players involved in the game. "Manchester United's Eric Bailly, Everton's Idrissa Gueye and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha were also playing in the match," says Sky Sports.
The future of friendly matches between African countries in Europe could be under threat after the incident, which took place after Nigeria's match against Burkina Faso – which had been due to take place in Barnet on Monday night – was called off when seven members of the Burkina Faso squad were denied British entry visas.