Violence halts Afcon semifinal as Ghana reach final

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The African Nations Cup semifinal was halted eight minutes from time on Thursday amid violent scenes as Ghana supporters sought refuge on the pitch after missiles rained down from angry Equatorial Guinea fans.

Ghana were leading 3-0 in a tempestuous semifinal at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo against the tournament hosts.

Ghana supporters, corralled into an enclosure to the side of the 15,000 capacity stadium, spilt onto the playing area and amassed behind the goal as they fled a deluge of water bottles and cans.

A helicopter flew across the stadium in a bid to bring calm, but Equatorial Guinea fans continued throwing objects onto the field. They had started in the first half 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. But 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.

Equatorial Guinea captain Emilio Nsue took to the microphone to appeal for calm as the delay continued past 10 minutes.

A controversially awarded penalty converted by Jordan Ayew in the 42nd minute, which initially sparked the violence, was followed by goals from Mubarak Wakaso and Andre Ayew to ensure Ghana reached a record ninth final where they will face the Ivory Coast.

Pitch invasion by fans halts the game:

Ghana take the lead from the penalty spot:

Ghana strike again to take a 2-0 lead:

Ghana takes a commanding 3-0 lead:

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