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The recently concluded AFCON 2021 game between Mali and Tunisia was marred by controversy after the referee ended the game twice before full time.
Janny Sikazwe, the referee in charge, was at the centre of the controversy with a number of highly contentious calls.
Sikazwe blew the final whistle with Mali leading 1-0 in the 85th minute, which caused some confusion among the players and technical teams on both sides.
The Zambian referee then harshly sent off Malian forward El Bilal Toure after he was corrected on his call and the match was restarted.
Despite being asked by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to review the decision, Sikazwe stood firm.
The referee then bafflingly blew his whistle before the 90th minute, prompting a furious Tunisian bench to storm the field to confront the official.
— The African Voice (@teddyeugene) January 12, 2022
As the Tunisian players and technical staff pursued Sikazwe, he had to be escorted off the field by security personnel.
??The referee’s decision to end the match without any stoppage time was surprising, given that the second half had seen nine substitutions, a cooling break, and two relatively lengthy VAR checks.
Now it looks like Tunisia refused to come out and play the final three minutes
Sikazwe and Mali waited for them and blew the whistle calling off the match
Now it’s officially full time pic.twitter.com/oviP8C9bzX
— Maher Mezahi (@MezahiMaher) January 12, 2022
The match was then adjourned for five minutes longer, with the officials and Malian team returning to the field.
The Tunisians, however, refused to play, and after some time passed, the referee blew for full-time for the third time in the match.