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REFEREE Janny Sikazwe of Zambia caused chaos today at the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon by twice blowing early for the end of the game.
He first blew for full time after only 85 minutes of the group F opener between Tunisia and Mali in Limbe with Mali leading 1-0 but realised his mistake and restarted the game.
He still had time to send off Mali substitute El Bilal Toure in the 87th minute for a rash challenge before blowing for full time again — but nearly a minute before the 90 minutes were up, with no time added for stoppages, which had included a VAR review.
The early whistle infuriated the Tunisia coaching staff. Coach Mondher Kebaier ran onto the field to confront the referee, who had to be escorted from the field by security officials.
There were suggestions that the game should be restarted and officials gathered on the field half an hour later, followed by a begrudging Mali team. But Tunisia apparently refused to return and the 1-0 result stood.
Ibrahima Kone scored from the penalty spot three minutes into the second half for Mali’s goal.
Tunisia were awarded a late penalty for handball after a video review but Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri’s powerful spot kick was saved by Ibrahim Mounkoro.
Tuesday’s late group D game in Garoua between Guinea-Bissau and Sudan finished with a frantic last 10 minutes.
Sudan goalkeeper Ali Abu Eshrein gave away a late penalty when he rushed out to challenge Steve Ambri and the pair collided. Eshrein had a strong argument that he’d played the ball but referee Issa Sy of Senegal didn’t use VAR to check his decision.
Guinea-Bissau’s Pele (full name Judilson Mamadu Tuncara Gomes, a midfielder with French club Monaco) had the 82nd-minute penalty saved by Eshrein and Piqueti hit the crossbar with a follow-up shot.
Two minutes later, Eshrein raced out of his goal again, snatching at a cross, and his defence had to clear a shot off the line to bail him out.
In their next matches on Saturday, Guinea-Bissau will face Egypt while Sudan play top-of-the-group Nigeria.
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