Among other of Wednesday’s midweek Africa Cup of Nations football news, Mali won 0-1, albeit farcically, over Tunisia in Cameroon. Yesterday’s AFCON fixture descended into a mockery as the referee twice blew for full-time before 90 minutes had played out. The problem was Tunisia’s refusal to return to the pitch 40 minutes later, in protest, despite Mali already winning 0-1.
Mali striker Ibrahima Kone scored a second-half penalty to seal a 1-0 victory over Tunisia. Meanwhile, Tunisia missed a spot kick of their own in this Group F game, and that miss that ended in controversy.
Africa Cup of Nations Football News – Mali Won 0-1, albeit Farcically
The refereeing element is what caused this match last night to descend into somewhat comical chaos at the end stages.
Zambian Sikazwe, who officiated at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, initially blew for the final whistle on 85 minutes. He called for end time because he got his timekeeping all wrong.
Moreover, then, after playing on, he somehow repeated the error. Again, he blew for full-time once more before the clock had ticked over to the 90 minutes.
Tunisia were furious and officials stormed on to the pitch in protest. Nonetheless, the man of the match trophy ceremony went ahead as per plans and so did the post-match news conferences.
Both were ongoing, in full swing, when Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials decided the remaining minutes should be played.
So, the Mali team came out onto the pitch again 40 minutes after the controversy began, to finish the match. On the other hand, Tunisia refused to play on and Sikazwe thus “prematurely” ended the game for a third time.
“The players were taking ice baths for 35 minutes before they [called them back out again],” Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier told reporters.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time never seen anything like it. Even the fourth official was preparing to lift the board [to show how many minutes of injury-time] and then the whistle was blown.”