Ghana supporters dodged missiles as they spilled onto the field for their own safety in astonishing scenes during the African Cup of Nations semi-final with Equatorial Guinea.
Ghana supporters dodged missiles as they spilled onto the field out of fears for their own safety during a tempestuous African Cup of Nations semi-final with Equatorial Guinea.
With barely 10 minutes remaining, play was halted after Ghana fans sought refuge on the pitch as objects rained down on them in some of the most appalling sights ever witnessed at a major international tournament.
Equatorial Guinea’s players marched over to their fans in an attempt to halt the madness – but it merely prompted the next wave of cans and bottles to be launched at the opposition fans.
And in a shocking twist, it was reported that fans of the host nation left the stadium to prepare an ambush for the Ghana support – with a helicopter deployed in an attempt to track down the guiltiest perpetrators.
The Ghana fans were ushered down the stadium tunnel, police fired tear gas into the stands, but – incredibly – the match officials were keen to complete the match, despite the Black Stars boasting a near unassailable 3-0 lead.
Equatorial Guinea fans had started throwing objects onto the field after their side went behind to a controversial 42nd minute penalty.
Ghana players had to be protected by riot police using plastic shields as they left the field at the end of the first half and the second period was delayed by two minutes as home fans aimed plastic bottles and tin cans at Ghana's bench.
The Confederation of African Football used the public address system to threaten to call off the game if the crowd at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo did not stop pelting Ghana's players.
Later there were also appeals for calm from Equatorial Guinea captain Emilio Nsue and the country's sports minister.
The second half was halted briefly, first, as a linesman had to flee infield to escape more missiles from the angry crowd and again eight minutes from time when Ghana supporters sought sanctuary on the field after coming under attack from locals.
The players remained on the field with the referee as officials struggled to bring order. The delay went on for 34 minutes before play was resumed.
It was a shameful end to a horribly ill-tempered affair that saw Ghana progress to the final against Ivory Coast and stay on course for a first AFCON title since 1982 – but no one will be talking about that match-up for a good while yet.