The former Chelsea talisman scored two goals in second half to qualify the Elephants to the 2013 Afcon but the game was interrupted after stampeded broke out in the last quarter
Cote D’Ivoire have booked their place for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after stunning Senegal 2-0 at the Leopold Senghor Stadium on Saturday in Dakar, thanks to strikes from skipper Didier Drogba, who has proved once more he remains indispensable to the Elephants despite his age at 34 and playing in lowly Chinese Super League.
The match was officially abandoned near end of the second half when troubles broke out in the 76th minute with frustrated local fans, who began throwing plastic bottles into the pitch and setting newspapers and Senegal’s flags on fire to create clouds of smoke that turned the atmosphere at the facility smoky and suffocating, which the referee judged unsafe to continue the encounter.
As suggested by pundits from the two West African nations, Senegal went underway in a frenetic pace certainly in search of early goals to erase their two-goal deficit from the first leg, but they met a more composed and experienced Ivorian team, more concerned about watching their back with an eye for counterattacks.
Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse found it hard to drive his side’s attacking line against club mate Cheick Tiote, Yaya Toure and Didier Zokora, who were clearing all the balls to break links between Dame Ndoye and Moussa Sow.
But goalkeeper Copa Barry could be awarded man of the match in the first half for his multiple saves that kept the Elephants out of danger as they tried to soak the pressure from their regional archrivals.
After several hesitations from both sides to settle their play, Moussa Sow broke out on a solo move and nearly opened the scoring just before the half hour mark but a last-ditch interception from Kolo Toure spared the Ivorians.
After being put through by a sublime chip from Yaya Toure, Arsenal’s winger Gervinho jinked into the hosts’ area but failed to deliver a quality final finish.
Drogba was hurt on a shoulder before halftime but was able to conclude the session, coming off from the break with a better inspiration and opening the scoring through a free kick in the 48th minute.
The Shanghai Shenhua striker doubled for the Elephants through a penalty in the 69th minute after a Senegalese defender blocked the trajectory of a goal-ward ball with an arm in the box.
The session delved into confusion thereafter when an irate fan made incursion into the pitch, which was followed by a generalised throwing of objects and burning of items by fans.
The match was interrupted during the last quarter and never resumed, with the match commissioner declaring Cote D’Ivoire the winner of the encounter on 2-0.
The 2012 Afcon finalists thus qualify to next year’s edition on a 7-2 aggregate.