Farcical scenes as ref twice ends Afcon match EARLY as security rush to defend him from furious Tunisia benchJanuary 13, 2022
SECURITY were forced to race onto the pitch to protect the referee after a series of outrageous blunders during Mali's 1-0 win over Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Match official Janny Sikazwe endured an horrific afternoon as he gave two controversial penalties, a questionable red card and TWICE ended the game early.
Ibrahima Kone scored the winner from the penalty spot to settle the incredible AFCON clash.
But it was the shambolic performance of ref Sikazwe that stole the headlines.
He first awarded a penalty early in the second half after Ellyes Skhiri was deemed to have blocked Boubakar Kouyate's shot with his arm.
Sikazwe awarded another penalty with just 15 minutes on the clock after Wahbi Khazri's shot smacked into Moussa Djenepo's hand.
The ref originally missed the handball and needed VAR to bail him out.
Incredibly, Sikazwe then blew for full time on just 85 MINUTES – before enraged Tunisia officials pointed out his simply bizarre error.
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Sikazwe then sent off sub El Bilal Toure two minutes later for a slightly late challenge perhaps worthy of a yellow card at worst.
He was instructed by VAR to look at it again, but after a glance at the pitchside video screen, he stuck by his decision.
And to make matters worse, he then called for the end of the game early AGAIN.
This time, the ref blew his whistle with 15 seconds of the 90 minutes still to go – ignoring the three minutes of time to be added on for stoppages – which included the VAR pause and a water drinks break.
The Tunisia bench erupted and stormed the field to angrily protest.
Eventually, security raced onto the pitch to form a protective ring around Sikazwe as things began to take an ugly turn.
With the post-match press conferences well underway, CAF officials stormed in to announce the match would be restarted to complete the final minutes that were shockingly missed.
Mali reappeared in their bid to close out the game, but Tunisia – despite venting their fury at the early whistle – never returned, with the match ending at 1-0.
Reports claim the Tunisia squad had already jumped on their team bus and left the stadium.
Before the game, Mali were forced to abandon their final training session after a gunfight broke out close to their base – and just 13 miles away from the Limbe Stadium where the match took place.
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