Mali and Tunisia’s Africa Cup of Nations game finished in chaos after the referee first signalled for full-time on 85 minutes, then ended the match when the clock showed 89 minutes and 47 seconds.
Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier and his technical staff raced on to the field to confront referee Janny Sikazwe after his final whistle consigned them to a 1-0 defeat in Group F.
Twenty minutes later, after Mali manager Mohamed Magassouba’s post-match press conference had started, tournament organisers ordered the game to be played to a conclusion.
However, in more farcical scenes, Tunisia’s players did not return to the field and Mali were declared winners.
Kebaier called the referee’s actions “inexplicable”, adding: “He blew for full time and asked us to go to the dressing room, so the players were in their ice baths and then he asked us to come back out.
“In 30 years in this business, I have never seen anything like it.”
At the end of an action-packed second half, which saw two stoppages for video assistant referee checks as well as a drinks break and several substitutions, Sikazwe became the centre of attention.
The Zambian – who refereed two group-stage games at the 2018 World Cup in Russia – had signalled for full-time with five minutes remaining, before checking his timings and continuing the game.
Then he ended the match 23 seconds before the 90th minute mark – and without adding on any additional time for stoppages.
Kebaier and his staff angrily confronted Sikazwe and his assistants on the pitch, pointing to their watches and remonstrating about the lack of added time.- BBC