Referee Sikazwe blunder overshadows Mali’s win over Tunisia

Sinan Rajab SENOGA

Tunisia 0-1 Mali

Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe prematurely ended the game between 10-man Mali and Tunisia at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium.

The game surprisingly ended at 89:40 in Mali’s favour when Sikazwe blew the final whistle for the second time.

He had initially ended the game at 85 minutes but rescinded the decision after complaints from the Tunisian technical bench and the players.

After the second final whistle, players went to the dressing rooms but both sides were told to return to the pitch to play the remaining five minutes but Tunisia declined.

The controversy overshadowed Mali’s deserved win after the Eagles dominated proceedings from the onset.

Striker Ibrahim Kone scored the only game of the game from the spot in the 48th minute when Ellyes Skhiri handled the ball in the penalty area.

Tunisia were also handed a penalty in the 75th minute following Moussa Djenepo’s handball from a Wahbi Khazri cross.

Khazri stepped up to convert but his effort was saved by goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro.

Mali were reduced to 10 when as striker El Bilal Toure was sent off by Sikazwe following a challenge on Tunisia’s Dylan Bronn in the 87th minute.

Toure had replaced Djenepo seven minutes before his sending off.

Mali will play Gambia on Friday in their next game while Tunisia face Mauritania on the same day.

Tunisia XI; Bechir Ben Said (GK), Hamza Mathlouthi, Billel Ifa, Dylan Bronn, Ali Maaloul, Montassar Talbi, Hannibal Mejbri, Aissa Laidouni, Ellyes Skhiri, Naim Sliti, Wahbi Khazri (C)

Mali XI; Ibrahim Bosso Mounkoro (GK), Hamari Traore (C), Falaye Sacko, Kiki Kouyate, Massadio Haidara, Amadou Haidara, Diadie Samassekou, Adama Traore Malouda, Adama Traore Noss, Moussa Djenepo, Ibrahima Kone

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