It was a battle of two eagles at the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) when the Cathage Eagles of Tunisia lost by a lone goal to the Eagles of Mali in the first Group F match at the ongoing tournament.
The carcass at stake was the maximum three points the both eagles filled out to contest at Nimbe.
Playing before an almost empty stadium, Mali took the lead when Ibrahima Kone converted a goal from the spot kick.
The penalty decision however was controversial as the referee consulted the VAR.
The harsh weather in Nimbe necessitated a break to cool off while temperature remained at 34 degree centigrade.
Another controversial decision took place towards the end of the game when a Malian player, Elyas Skhiri’s left hand made contact with the ball. It took the Zambian referee, Sanny Jikwaze to consult the VAR to decide on a penalty kick for the Tunisians which the Malian goalkeeper saved.
The match full of controversies saw the referee issuing a red card to on the 86th minute to Mali’s El Bilal Toure after catching Dylan Bronn’s ankle on the halfway line.
Security men were forced to rush on the pitch to protect Jikwaze from fuming Tunisian coaching crew after ending the match before time.
A series of outrageous blunders including the two controversial penalties, a questionable red card and twice ending the game earlier than 90 minutes characterised the game that had several stoppages.
Officials of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) later stormed in to announce the match would be restarted to complete the final three 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.
Earlier in the day, the Eagles of Mali were forced to abandon their final training session after a gunfight broke out close to their base which is 13 miles away from the Limbe Stadium where the match took place later.
In the second group F match, Gambia defeated Mauritania by one goal to join Mali at the top of the group table with three points each.