Cup Of Nations Match Turned Into ‘War Zone’

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Members of the media take cover after Equatorial Guinea fans threw objects during their African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match against Ghana in Malabo

 A semi-final at the Africa Nations Cup had to be stopped amid chaotic scenes as violence broke out between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana fans.

The Ghana Football Association’s Twitter feed said their supporters were in “real danger” and described the scene as being “like a war zone”.

The match, which Ghana won 3-0, was suspended for over half an hour as the Black Stars fans took refuge on the pitch behind one of the goals.

Bottles and other objects could be seen scattered across the running track which surrounded the pitch, and there were reports of tear gas being fired into the stands to control the Equatorial Guinea supporters.

A Tweet sent on the Ghana FA’s official account during the match said: “Police helicopter hovers above the pitch with the #Ghana fans in real danger. It’s now like a war zone. #AFCON2015”.

he referee stopped the match and the players were left waiting in the middle of the pitch to find out if it would restart, with Equatorial Guinea officials pleading with their supporters to calm down.

The trouble flared eight minutes before the match, in the Equatorial Guinea capital Malabo, was due to end.

It looked set to be abandoned but was allowed to continue following lengthy deliberation between the match and competition officials, coaches and players.

Players cleared bottles off the pitch before the restart and three minutes of stoppage time were played without incident.

When the final whistle was blown Ghana coach Avram Grant and his counterpart Esteban Becker embraced and there were handshakes between the players.

Equatorial Guinea stepped in to host the tournament at the 11th hour after Morocco pulled out because of fears over the Ebola crisis.

Its only previous African Nations Cup campaign was in 2013 when its team reached the quarter-finals.

They went one better this time and hopes were high they would reach the final in Bata on Sunday, when Ghana will face Ivory Coast.

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