Mali beat Tunisia 1-0 in AFCON match amid referee fiasco

Referee blows whistle for full time twice before regular time runs out in shocking timekeeping error

Can Erozden   | 12.01.2022
Mali beat Tunisia 1-0 in AFCON match amid referee fiasco


Mali edged Tunisia 1-0 in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Wednesday where the Group F match saw a couple of scandalous timekeeping mistakes.

Malian forward Ibrahima Kone scored the winning goal from a penalty kick in the 48th minute after a handball by Tunisian midfielder Ellyes Joris Skhiri.

But a referee fiasco overshadowed the match in Cameroon's Limbe as official Janny Sikazwe from Zambia caused chaos for poor timekeeping.

Sikazwe blew his whistle to end the match in the 85th minute but play resumed it to correct the mistake.

He then did the same to indicate the end of the game at 89:50 as Mali were leading at Limbe Omnisport Stadium.

Tunisian head coach Mondher Kebaier was furious about Sikazwe's error and stepped onto the pitch to argue.

Meanwhile, in the 77th minute, forward Wahbi Khazri missed a penalty kick for Tunisia. Ten minutes later, Mali's El Bilal Toure was sent off for a foul on Skhiri.

"The referee blew the whistle at the 85 minute mark at the 89 minute mark, it's lunar. He deprived us of concentration. We did not want to resume because the players had already taken their baths, deconcentrated and demoralized in the face of this gruesome situation," Kebaier said after the match.

At a post-match press conference, AFCON organizers said the match should be concluded.

Nearly half an hour after Sikazwe blew full time in the 89th minute -- an incorrect decision -- Tunisian players refused to return to the pitch. Mali were named winners.

The Malian national team bagged their first three points in the AFCON 2021.

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