New Telegraph

Mali beat Tunisia amid controversy as ref blows for full-time early


Mali beat Tunisia 1-0 at the Africa Cup of Nations in a Group F game which ended in controversy after the referee blew for full-time early.

Carthage Eagles coach Mondher Kebaier and his technical staff rushed onto the field to confront referee Janny Sikazwe after he ended the game a minute early, reports the BBC.

After a post-match press conference had started, tournament organisers ordered the game to be played to a conclusion.

However, Tunisia did not return to the field and Mali were declared winners.

Confusion reigns in Limbe

At the culmination of a packed second half, which saw two stoppages for video assistant referee checks as well as a drinks break and several substitutions, Sikazwe became the centre of attention.

The Zambian had appeared to blow his full-time whistle with five minutes remaining, before checking his timings and continuing the game.

Then he signalled the end of the match in the 90th minute before adding on any additional time for stoppages.

Kebaier and his staff angrily confronted the Zambian official and his assistants on the pitch, pointing to their watches and remonstrating about the lack of added time.

The officials were given an escort off the pitch by stadium security as the Malians celebrated with the fans, but the controversy did not end there.

Over 20 minutes later the Malian side ventured back onto the field for the game to restart, but were awarded the victory after the North Africans failed to emerge.

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