Connect with us

News

How chaos, controversy, goal drought marred AFCON opening games

Published

on

There were chaotic scenes, confusion, controversies, and goal drought during the Africa Cup of Nations opening games.

On Wednesday as Mali beat Tunisia in a game marred by controversy when the referee blew the final whistle before the 90 minutes had been played.

The incident completely overshadowed Mali’s 1-0 win over one of the title contenders in Limbe, while Gambia and the Ivory Coast also claimed victories by a single goal as the first round of group matches in the competition were completed.

Zambian official Janny Sikazwe signalled the end of the match with the clock showing 89 minutes and 42 seconds, leaving Tunisia furious as they chased the game against their 10-man opponents.

With confusion reigning, Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba was giving his post-match press conference when an official entered the room under the stand to indicate that the game would restart and that three minutes still remained.

Mali returned to the field but the Tunisians did not re-emerge, and so the referee brought the game to a definitive conclusion when the Malians kicked off again.

– AFCON enters conflict zone –

Mali were still able to celebrate their victory, which was sealed thanks to an Ibrahima Kone penalty just after half-time in the Group F encounter.

Wahbi Khazri had a chance to equalise for Tunisia in the final quarter of an hour but his spot-kick at the other end was saved by Mali goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro.

Mali had substitute El-Bilal Toure sent off late on, before the chaotic scenes unfolded in the stadium in Limbe, which offers spectacular views down the hill to the Gulf of Guinea.

Games are being played in the town despite separatist unrest in the anglophone region.

– Jallow and Gradel stunners –

The refereeing controversy meant kick-off in the day’s second game between Gambia and Mauritania in the same stadium was delayed by 45 minutes, and there was more embarrassment for the organisers as the wrong anthem was played three times for the Mauritanian team.

It was Gambia who beat their west African neighbours 1-0 to mark their first ever match at the Cup of Nations in style, with an Ablie Jallow stunner deciding the contest.

In the late game, 2015 champions the Ivory Coast defeated Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in Douala in Group E thanks to a superb early effort by Max-Alain Gradel.

The second round of group matches begins on Thursday as hosts Cameroon take on Ethiopia in Yaounde before Cape Verde play Burkina Faso.

Wrong anthem

Africa Cup of Nations officials suffered another embarrassing moment on Wednesday as the wrong anthem was played three times for Mauritania ahead of their opening game against Gambia in Limbe.

The incident came two hours after the first match in Group F between Mali and Tunisia was brought to an end before the clock hit 90 minutes.

Mauritania players looked on in bemusement, some shaking their heads, as two unsuccessful attempts were made to play the country’s national anthem before kick-off.

The stadium announcer said Mauritania would then sing it themselves. Instead, a third try was quickly cut short after the country’s old anthem was played once more.

Goal drought

Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar scored twice in matchday 1 of the Africa Cup of Nations to achieve what no player from the other 23 title contenders managed in their initial outing.

When the African football showpiece expanded from 16 teams to 24 for the last tournament, in Egypt three years ago, 27 goals were scored in 12 matchday 1 games.

But goals have been extremely scarce in Cameroon with just 12 in 12 matches, leading SuperSport TV analyst and former Nigeria star Jay-Jay Okocha to say “we need to see the ball in the net much more often”.

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News19 mins ago

EPL fixtures: Matches to watch this weekend as Premier League top-four race hots up

News39 mins ago

Baby, three others freeze to death near US-Canada border

News53 mins ago

Give back to alma mater, Lagos Baptist alumni tell Nigerians

News55 mins ago

FG builds multipurpose hall for adult literacy centre

News57 mins ago

ICOBA plans N1bn to refurbish school

News59 mins ago

Ondo NSCDC to deploy female officers in schools

News1 hour ago

Mock exam, condition for NECO/ WASSCE registration in Kogi

News1 hour ago

Alumni lament institution’s encroachment

News1 hour ago

BREAKING: 17 dead, 59 injured as explosion rocks Ghana town

News1 hour ago

Full fixtures: Nigeria face Tunisia at AFCON knockout stage, Ivory Coast vs Egypt

News2 hours ago

Beginning of the end of an era and 2023 presidential elections

News2 hours ago

Tinubu’s native intelligence

News2 hours ago

Ekiti community demands compensation for demolished houses, issues ultimatum

News2 hours ago

LASTMA probes officer’s attack on commercial bus, female passenger’s eye injured

News2 hours ago

Two killed, five injured as mast collapses in Benue

News2 hours ago

129 terrorists killed, 64 arrested, 27 victims rescued in two weeks – DHQ

News2 hours ago

Two in court for forging, selling Benue internal revenue receipts

News2 hours ago

Lagos photographer, mentor trade blame over N1m camera lens

News2 hours ago

Policeman arrested for attacking Rivers lady with burning stove

News2 hours ago

Ondo driver crushes motorcyclist, flees, residents burn truck

News19 hours ago

Dangote Refinery to Reduce Africa’s Petroleum Importation by 36%, says APPO

Entertainment16 hours ago

Woman trends after tattooing ‘baby hair’ to her forehead (photos)

News17 hours ago

What I told Super Eagles before first AFCON game -Eguavoen

Entertainment14 hours ago

Teenage-looking Nigerian boy brutalizes his girlfriend for refusing to open her phone for him (Disturbing video)

Business News16 hours ago

GSK Consumer Healthcare Business Not Worth Than £50bn—Unilever

Entertainment7 hours ago

Actor, Kolawole Ajeyemi reacts to claims that his wife, Toyin Abraham, bought him the Lexus SUV (video)

Metro14 hours ago

Bill Gates Warns Of Pandemics Worse Than Covid-19

News10 hours ago

Benue amends anti-open grazing law, imposes stiffer penalties for offenders

News17 hours ago

Pictorial: Buhari arrives in Kaduna for two-day official visit

Entertainment15 hours ago

Ubi Franklin jokingly pushes reality star, Queen away as she gets ‘romantic’ with him (video)

News20 hours ago

2023: Women’s group backs Osinbajo, seeks Buhari’s support

News21 hours ago

Reps mourn Alao-Akala, say ex-Oyo gov deserves national recognition

Entertainment13 hours ago

“It works, see the glow” – Lady declares after rubbing friend’s sp3rm on her face; says she won’t have to buy expensive creams again (video)

Entertainment16 hours ago

BBNaija star, Omashola and fiancee expecting their first child

News21 hours ago

2023: Underage persons won’t vote, says INEC

Business News14 hours ago

New High-Speed Trains to Boost Lagos Urban Transportation

Metro16 hours ago

I had to sleep with my pastor to get money to feed myself – Nollywood actress confesses

Relationship13 hours ago

7 Types Of People To Avoid When You’re Pregnant

Politics10 hours ago

Reps move to protect capital market investors

Metro17 hours ago

Pastor Asks Members To Pray Naked For Holly Spirit To Penetrate Them (See Photos)

Trending