Thursday, January 27, 2022

AFCON 2022: Referee ends Mali vs. Tunisia match twice, hands out controversial red card before full time

It got wild in the AFCON on Wednesday

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Every second in a soccer match matters, and just having allotted time can be the difference in dropping points or earning points. For Tunisia on Wednesday in the Africa Cup of Nations, the inexplicable happened. Facing off against Mali in the group stage, the referee blew the full time whistle in the 85th minute. That’s like having an NFL official say the game is over at the two-minute warning. As you would expect, Tunisia were furious as they found themselves down 1-0, and the ref appeared to realize his mistake, allowing play to continue. Then can you guess what he did?

He called the match off before it reached the 90th minute, not only failing to complete the game time, but there was also no added time. 

Here is video of the first whistle:

Here is the second:

In addition to all of this and between the two stoppages, play restarted, a player was sent off, there was a VAR review of the card that determined the red wasn’t warranted, and the ref rejected the VAR decision. 

And before the first time the match was ended, there was a VAR review for a penalty, it was given, and the penalty was missed. Just pure chaos.

There was tons of confusion at full time, and this will certainly not be the end of the fallout from these actions. While nobody is suggesting anything untoward, ending a match early (not to mention the rest of the insanity) is certainly going to merit further investigation even if only to ensure that mere incompetence is the root cause of the mistake. That’s especially true given that Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe has previously been suspended by the Confederation of African Football over corruption allegations.

As for what happens moving forward, Algerian journalist Maher Mazahi is reporting the match may actually restart to finish out three additional minutes. Discussions are underway as to how to proceed.

CBS Sports will update this story with more information:

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