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AFCON: Ref blows for FT TWICE before 90th minute

AFCON 2021: Ref blows for full-time TWICE before the 90th minute in chaotic Tunisia vs Mali clash

January 12, 2022 By Ali M.
Wednesday's early Tunisia vs Mali kick-off ended in a farce as the game was ended before the 90th-minute mark, sparking anger from the Eagles of Carthage.

Wednesday saw one of the most chaotic and controversial matches in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations take place in the form of Tunisia vs Mali.

These two African sides locked horns in today's early kick off, with both nations aiming to grab the three points – and an early lead – in Group F. Unfortunately, this fixture was marred by an unsavory end!

The ironic part is that this game already had enough talking points, with two penalties being awarded for handball despite some believing it to have been in a natural position on both occasions. The first one was given to Mali, which they converted, while the second one was awarded to Tunisia only after an intervention from VAR.

The latter spot kick, which came in the 76th minute, was missed. Additionally, Mali's El Bilal Toure was given a straight red card and was sent off, which would have made for an exciting end, but referee Janny Sikazwe stole the show after blowing for full-time TWICE before the 90th minute.

Yes, you've read that right! The Zambian match official prematurely ended the game on two separate occasions, the first coming in the 85th minute. This sparked confusion from the dugout as everyone but those on the pitch were aware that there was still time left on the clock.

This error was eventually corrected, with the referee calling the players back onto the pitch after realizing his mistake. However, things got even worse when the official blew the final whistle before full-time once again, this time ending the game over 10 seconds before the 90th-minute mark.

In fact, the fourth official was not even able to raise his board and show the added time, which should have been lengthy, as there were eight substitutions, two VAR checks, a red card, and a water break. Understandably, the Tunisian were left livid, with the Eagles of Carthage officials taking to the pitch in anger to confront the match official as they had a one-man advantage over the opposition and thus had the opportunity to salvage a point, at the very least.

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Things unfortunately escalated and security was forced to step in in order to safely escort the match officials off the pitch. Unfortunately, the drama did not end there as CAF official quickly met to decide what to do about this controversy. Sadly, the decision came more than 20 minutes after the final whistle was blown as Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba's press conference was interrupted to inform him that the match would re-start in order to play out the final three minutes.

A while later, Les Aigles players returned to the pitch as a different referee was chosen to oversee the remainder of the game. However, the Tunisians refused to come out and thus the game did not resume. Whether it ended in a 1-0 defeat for the Eagles of Carthage or whether it will be upgraded to a 3-0 loss for their refusal to play remains unclear. A complaint has been filed to the CAF, meaning we haven't heard the last of this story.

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