SAN FRANCISCO, September 10, (THEWILL) – At least one person was killed and nearly 40 were injured in a stampede ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier Sunday in which Madagascar hit back twice to draw 2-2 with Senegal.
The casualty figures were confirmed by the director of a hospital in the Malagasy capital Antananarivo, where the Group A match was staged in the 30,000-capacity Mahamasina Stadium.
Witnesses told AFP there was a stampede at an entrance to the venue just before the 1130 GMT (2:30pm local time) kick-off.
One person was killed and 37 injured, including two who were said to be in a serious condition with head and chest injuries.
Fans had queued outside the stadium nine hours before the start of the eagerly-awaited match with Liverpool star Sadio Mane in the line-up of 2018 World Cup qualifiers Senegal.
The result left Senegal and Madagascar, who lie 83 places below their opponents in the world rankings, as co-Group A leaders with four points each after two rounds.
Senegal beat Equatorial Guinea 3-0 in the first round 15 months ago while consistently improving Madagascar triumphed 3-1 in Sudan.
Moussa Konate volleyed the visitors into a 27th-minute lead in Antananarivo and Paulin Voavy levelled a minute before half-time by scoring in a goalmouth scramble.
Keita Balde put Senegal ahead again on 62 minutes with a shot into the corner after a solo run only for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly to concede an own-goal five minutes later.
Mane, who scored his fourth goal of the season for Liverpool in a win at Leicester City last weekend, was well policed by the Malagasy defence.
On Saturday, Equatorial Guinea edged Sudan 1-0 in Malabo through an Emilio Nsue goal in the other Group A match and are third with three points.
Group winners and runners-up qualify for the 2019 Cup of Nations in Cameroon, which will be the first to feature 24 nations, up from 16 last year.