Referee controversy takes center stage of Mali’s win over Tunisia in Group F first game

Mali opened their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a controversial win over Tunisia to take an early lead in Group F.

The game, however, was marred with controversy.

Referees were escorted off of the pitch after the official appeared to blow for full-time after only 83 minutes and 43 seconds, drawing a furious reaction from the Tunisian bench.

It was a tale of two penalties as Ibrahima Kone converted his attempt after a handball, but Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri could not follow suit as his effort was saved by Mali goalkeeper Ibrahima Mounkoro 13 minutes from time.

Zambia referee Janny Sikazwe initially blew for the end of the game with 85 minutes on the clock, his time keeping obviously poor.

But after correcting himself he still ended the match in the 90th minute, despite a number of stoppages in the second half, including two VAR checks.

The result follows the trend of 1-0 win at the finals, with this the seventh in the 10 games played to date. The second match in Group F will be played later on Wednesday between Mauritania and Gambia.


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