Football: Violence breaks out as Ghana beat hosts to earn slot in African Nations Cup final

A police helicopter is used to disperse rioting fans from pelting Ghanaian fans with projectiles during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semi final match between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea at the Malabo Stadium, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Feb 5, 201
A police helicopter is used to disperse rioting fans from pelting Ghanaian fans with projectiles during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semi final match between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea at the Malabo Stadium, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Police instruct Equatorial Guinea fans to move after some of them threw objects during their African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match against Ghana in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Police instruct Equatorial Guinea fans to move after some of them threw objects during their African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match against Ghana in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Security and Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials try to protect Ghana fans after Equatorial Guinea fans threw objects during their African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Security and Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials try to protect Ghana fans after Equatorial Guinea fans threw objects during their African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Equatorial Guinea's defender Rui (right) vies with Ghana's forward Jordan Ayew (centre) during the 2015 African Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Equatorial Guinea's defender Rui (right) vies with Ghana's forward Jordan Ayew (centre) during the 2015 African Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Ghana's midfielder Andre Ayew (centre) celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2015 African Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Ghana's midfielder Andre Ayew (centre) celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2015 African Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana in Malabo on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Jordan Ayew of Ghana scores a penalty during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semi final match between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea at the Malabo Stadium, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Jordan Ayew of Ghana scores a penalty during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semi final match between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea at the Malabo Stadium, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Feb 5, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (REUTERS) - Ghana coach Avram Grant said he was concerned about the safety of his players in their 3-0 African Nations Cup semi-final win over hosts Equatorial Guinea which was disrupted by violent scenes.

The game resumed after a break of over 30 minutes on Thursday as sections of the crowd were forced from the stands with missiles raining down from the angry home fans. Reports said that several fans were injured.

"It's the first time I've played in this tournament," Grant said. "I didn't know what was happening. I saw something on the pitch, some incident or violence.

"I can't say I wasn't concerned, I care about the security of my players, it's very important to me."

Grant watched on impassively as Ghana supporters sought refuge on the pitch with their team leading by three goals in a tempestuous semi-final at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo.

Teargas was fired as riot police tried to control the home supporters while Ghana fans, corralled into an enclosure to the side of the 15,000 capacity stadium, spilt onto the field and amassed behind the goal as they fled a deluge of water bottles and cans.

A helicopter flew over the stands in a bid to force the spectators out with at least one fan falling dangerously over a barrier.

Equatorial Guinea coach Esteban Becker and forward Emilio Nsue were quick to condemn the actions of the supporters.

"I am sad about the way the fans acted out there," Becker said, while Nsue offered an apology for the violent scenes.

"Regarding the public and the way they acted," he began, "I've never experienced that. I'd like to say sorry, it was something we've never experienced before."

The home fans 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, while the Confederation of African Football used the public address system to threaten to call off the game if the crowd did not stop pelting Ghana's players.

The second half was halted 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.