Magpies trio caught-up in ANC crowd trouble

Ivory Coast fans help other supporters escape the violence in the Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium in Dakar Credit: Stringer/Reuters

Three Newcastle United players were forced to flee the pitch after trouble broke out among crowds during an African Nations Cup qualifier between Senegal and Ivory Coast last night.

Play was stopped after former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba had given Ivory Coast a 6-2 aggregate lead at the Stade Leopold Senghor, in Dakar. The 34-year-old scored his second goal of the match from the penalty spot in the 70th minute, leaving Senegal on the verge of elimination.

The goal sparked angry scenes among home supporters, with small fires being set alight and objects were thrown on the pitch. Riot police fired tear gas in the stands, as players and staff from both teams grouped together in the centre circle, including Magpies stars Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote.

The incident was confirmed on the official website of the Senegalese Football Federation, "Unfortunately the match ended in very sombre circumstances.

"The referee was forced to stop in the match in the 72nd minute with the score at 2-0 because of serious outbreaks in the stands by very unhappy Senegalese supporters.

"The police took the public out after many confrontations."

Security officials help players leave the field Credit: Stringer/Reuters

A host of other Premier League players were also involved in the match, including Arsenal forward Gervinho, and Manchester City brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure.

City said on their official website: "City's Yaya and Kolo Toure 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 in the second leg clash and early reports suggest the brothers are unharmed."

It's likely the result will stand but there has been no confirmation from the Confederation of African Football organisers yet.

Senegal's elimination does provide positive news for Newcastle fans, as it means strike duo Cisse and Ba will not be leaving St James' Park for African Nations Cup duty in January.

Papiss Cisse (left) and Demba Ba will no longer be away on international duty in January Credit: Stringer/Reuters