Controversies trailed matchday 4 of the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon with events taking a different turn entirely.
The only match that seems to be free of hitches was the game between Equatorial Guinea vs Ivory Coast which ended 1-0 in favor of the latter.
Max-Alain Gradel scored the only goal as the Elephants start their campaign on a high going top of E with the game played in the group between defending champions Algeria and Sierra Leone ending in a goalless draw.
There were bizarre scenes in Group F opener between Tunisia and Mali at Stade Limbe.
Mali had raced into the lead three minutes after the restart via a spot-kick before Tunisia was awarded a penalty of their own following a VAR review which captain Wahbi Kazri missed from the twelve yards.
Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe the man at the center of the controversies did the unthinkable when he ended the game in the 85th minute in what was a bizarre moment. Following the intervention of other officials, the play soon continued and the Zambian sent off Mali substitute El Bilal Toure for what was clearly a yellow card offense but despite the VAR review asking the referee to overturn the decision, the Zambian stuck to his initial decision, rejecting all calls from the VAR officials.
A worse scenario would conclude the event as the referee again ended the game abruptly with the time at 89:40 minutes to the dismay of the Tunisian bench all of who bitterly contested the controversial and absurd situation.
The referee has since been suspended by CAF with Tunisia filing an appeal to the governing body to look into the situation.
Meanwhile, in the final first-round game played between Mauritania and Gambia, the latter was on the receiving end of another catastrophic show as their anthem at the start of the game was twice mixed up.
The stadium sound system was in a faulty state and couldn’t project the Mauritanian anthem with the team later urged to sing their anthem without the music, a gesture captain Kamara vehemently frowned at.
The situation went on for a few minutes to the frustration of the Mauritanian players led by captain Aboubakar Kamara.
Mauritania eventually lost the game by a lone goal to their Gambian counterpart.
Results of AFCON Day 4
Equatorial Guinea 0 vs 1 Ivory Coast
Tunisia 0 vs 1 Mali
Mauritania 0 vs 1 Gambia