Tunisia explode at AFCON referee as game ended early after two penalties and red card

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A bizarre moment has occurred in the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday afternoon in a game between Tunisia and Mali, with referee Janny Sikazwe blowing for full-time in the 85th and 89th minute of the game, after a red card and two penalties took the match by storm.

The Group F game, held at the Limbe Stadium in Cameroon, got off to a mundane start with a poor goalless first half which included three yellow cards.

Yet just after half-time, the game sparked to life as Mali were awarded a penalty in the 48th minute – which striker Ibrahima Kone of Sarpsborg in Denmark gleefully tucked away.

Amazingly, this was to be Mali’s only shot on target, with Tunisia pushing hard for an equaliser and their efforts could have been rewarded in the 78th minute when former Sunderland star Wahbi Khazri was given the opportunity to score from the spot.

But his miss meant the Eagles were denied justice for their hard efforts.

Amazingly, the referee then tried blowing for full-time on just 85 minutes, with five minutes of regulation left, before sending Mali striker El Bilal Toure off two minutes later.

And the game wasn’t to end without controversy there – with the referee blowing on 89 minutes and 42 seconds to leave Tunisia officials livid.

Tunisian coaching staff were beside themselves, immediately surrounding the fourth official who shunned them away at arms length.

However, the players didn’t put up a protest, presumably as they had no idea as to how long was left.

For a game that had two penalties and a red card in the second half, no stoppage-time is extremely bizarre.

And stewards had to protect Sikazwe from seething Tunisian officials as they trudged down the tunnel.

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Mali, who boast the likes of Brighton’s coveted midfielder Yves Bissouma, Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara and Hoffenheim star Diadou Samassekou, would have thought the win was initially enough to go top of the group with their 1-0 win.

But shockingly, officials at the ground reportedly stormed Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba’s press conference to inform him the match would be restarted, 20 minutes after the final whistle.

In the end, Mali came back out to an almost empty stadium, with many believing the game was over and heading for the exits in their droves.

Magassouba’s men came back out to finish the game with three additional minutes set to be played.

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Yet breaking developments found that Tunisia – the side in need of a late equaliser – refused to come and play the last three minutes.

Mali players were waiting on the pitch for around ten minutes before they started celebrating again once they realised that all three points were theirs.

And the win sees them sit top of the group, ahead of Tunisia, Mauritania and Gambia.

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