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12th Jan 2022

Chaos at AFCON as ref blows early for full-time TWICE in Tunisia vs Mali

Callum Boyle

Absolute madness

Tunisia’s Africa Cup of Nations group stage match against Mali on Tuesday was marred by controversy after the referee blew the whistle 10 seconds early.

Mali were leading the match 1-0 after Ibrahima Koné scored from the penalty spot before Tunisia were denied from 12 yards in the second half, after former Sunderland man Wahbi Khazri’s spot-kick was saved by Ibrahim Mounkoro.

The game had several stoppages throughout the second half. Along with the two penalties, there were also two cooling breaks, VAR decisions and injury stoppages.

Mali substitute El Bilal Touré had also been sent off to add to the extra time that needed to be added on at the end of the game.

Before blowing the whistle in the 89th minute, the referee had initially blown up for the end of the game in the 85th minute – rightfully causing anger amongst both sets of players – before resuming the game shortly after.

With many expecting a lengthy amount of stoppage time, the referee instead shocked everyone once again as he blew his whistle on 89 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

The decision understandably angered the Tunisians, who swarmed around the officials in Limbe wanting to know why he had blown the whistle early.

As a result, security was called upon to protect the officials and prevent the situation from escalating any further after the Tunisia manager, Mondher Kebaier, was seen repeatedly following him to demand answers.

Meanwhile, the Mali side were seen celebrating with relief, before heading over to their travelling fans to show their appreciation for their support.

It means Tunisia sit bottom of Group F, with the other match in the group between Gambia and Mauritania yet to have taken place at the time of writing.

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