The Ivory Coast fought back to claim a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Nene Dorgeles’ memorable strike put Mali ahead after Odilon Kossounou’s first-half red card for the hosts.

But Simon Adingra’s 90th-minute equaliser took the tie to extra time before the Ivory Coast won it in the final minutes of the match through Oumar Diakite, who was then sent off along with Mali’s Hamari Traore.

Mali missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead when Adama Traore’s penalty was saved.

Kossounou clumsily fouled pacey striker Lassine Sinayoko in the box before Ivorian keeper Yahia Fofana did well to get down and make a fingertip stop in the bottom right corner.

Traore tested the Ivory Coast’s defenders in behind but his appeals for a free-kick on the edge of the box were waved down by the referee, who showed the Hull player a yellow card for simulation.

The Elephants fluffed their best chance of the match after 40 minutes. Right-back Serge Aurier made a direct run inside before picking out Seko Fofana on the edge of the box but the midfielder put too much power into the strike as his effort flew over the bar.

A poor first half for Emerse Fae’s hosts was made worse when Kossounou picked up a second yellow and was sent off.

Sinayoko continued to wreak havoc, breaking away from orange shirts before a cynical challenge from Kossounou earned him a deserved red card.

Mali increased the pressure on their 10-man opponents after the break as they searched for an opener.

Amadou Haidara was unmarked on the edge of the area and he almost found the breakthrough when his long-range shot dipped towards the bottom corner, forcing Yahia Fofana into action.

But after 71 minutes Mali got the goal they deserved after a stunning strike from substitute Dorgeles.

Dorgeles, who was born in the Ivory Coast, picked up the ball in midfield before he took advantage of the free man and drove into space.

The Salzburg midfielder cut onto his right foot, producing a wonderful dipping effort which found the top corner.

The strike, which will be a goal of the tournament contender, had too much power and accuracy for Yahia Fofana to replicate his earlier heroics.

But in dramatic circumstances, the Ivory Coast levelled the tie on 90 minutes.

Seko Fofana’s effort crashed off a Malian defender and into the path of substitute and Brighton winger Adingra, who smashed home to equalise.

In the last minute of extra time, Ivory Coast stole the victory.

An attacking free-kick saw the loose ball fall to Seko Fofana, who let fly before Diakite managed to get a crucial touch, sending the ball into the net and the tournament hosts into the semi-final.

Diakite picked up a second yellow card after he removed his shirt during the celebrations before Hamari Traore was shown a straight red.

Ivory Coast caretaker coach Emerse Fae has told the Africa Cup of Nations hosts not to get caught up in the hype as they prepare for Saturday’s quarter-final against Mali.

The Elephants saw off defending champions Senegal in a penalty shootout last time out but, despite that shock win, they have effectively limped to the last eight, having lost two of their last three matches, and having scored only three goals in four matches so far.

But while Fae has preached humility to his players, he did allow himself to suggest they could yet go all the way on home soil.

“We’re definitely not going to get excited,” Fae said. “We have come so far. We are going to continue to work on our solidity.

“We need to keep this state of mind which will give us the strength to perhaps go for the title.”

While they will have home support on their side, Ivory Coast are second favourites against a Mali side who have never lost at the quarter-final stage, having got this far on five previous occasions.

But despite that proud record, Mali have never lifted the trophy. Inspired by Lassine Sinayoko, who is bidding to become the first Malian to score four goals in a single edition of AFCON since Freddy Kanoute in 2004, they could well have a chance this year.

“We need to be humble and continue with hard work,” Mali coach Eric Chelle said.

“I am very happy for the players. We know that it will be difficult against (Ivory Coast), but we will bring our quality and give it our best against them. I want to emphasize the importance of humility in this victory.”

Goals at the start of each half ensured Mali advanced to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso.

Mali have not trailed in the tournament so far and their chances of doing that were minimised when Edmond Tapsoba put through his own goal three minutes in, but Burkina Faso had Herve Koffi to thank for keeping the deficit to just one at the break.

Lassine Sinayoko doubled Mali’s lead with the first chance of the second period and Aston Villa winger Bertrand Traore brought Burkina Faso back into it from the penalty spot. Mali, however, held on to book their spot against Ivory Coast in the last eight despite a late offside scare.

Mali came racing out of the blocks and opened the scoring with their first chance after Amadou Haidara’s initial header came crashing off a post, with Tapsoba nudging the ball into his own net on the rebound.

Burkina Faso were reduced to half chances throughout the opening half-hour and came closest from an audacious long shot from Traore which comfortably rolled into the grasp of Djigui Diarra.

Mali looked the more likely to add a second and Sinayoko unleashed a first-time half-volley from close range which was magnificently kept out by Koffi.

Another Mali chance came and went a couple of minutes later when Kamory Doumbia found space outside the box before he let fly and smashed across goal, but Diarra watched the ball roll just wide of the far post.

It took three minutes in the first half for Mali to score again to make it 2-0 as Sinayoko was let through on goal and coolly slotted under Koffi’s legs to double their advantage.

Burkina Faso were given the opportunity to get back into the match after VAR adjudged Boubakar Kouyate had handled the ball inside the box and Traore stepped up for the resulting penalty to dispatch his third of the tournament.

Despite being second best in the first half, Burkina Faso almost brought themselves level with 20 minutes to go as a chance fell for Mohamed Konate, his powerful effort well saved by Diarra before he kept Cedric Badolo out on the follow-up.

Burkina Faso thought they found the equaliser at the death when Issoufou Dayo glanced home from a free-kick but the assistant referee’s offside flag came to Mali’s rescue.

Namibia qualified for the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time after a goalless draw against Mali.

The Brave Warriors, whose victory over Tunisia had set up the prospect of knockout football, lived up to their nickname with a resilient display against the misfiring Group E winners.

After almost taking a surprise lead in the 16th minute when Prins Tjiueza’s angled shot was tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Djigui Diarra, Namibia focused mainly on damage limitation.

They knew as long as they matched Tunisia’s result against South Africa they would progress as one of the best third-placed sides and the first two goalless draws of the tournament ensured that is how it played out.

Mali dominated possession but their best first-half chances saw Fousseni Diabate cut in onto his left foot to force a good save from Lloyd Kazapua and Lassine Sinayoko plant a close-range header wide.

Having managed just one shot on target, Mali coach Eric Chelle replaced both his strikers just a few minutes into the second half, bringing on Kamory Doumbia and Ibrahim Sissoko.

With Namibia working hard to hold onto what they had and not over-extend themselves, the initiative remained with Mali but Sissoko’s main contributions were to balloon a shot way over from the edge of the area and then fail to connect with Nene Dorgeles’ cross into the six-yard box.

Mali did not force Kazapua into a genuine save in the second half until five minutes from the end when he tipped Amadou Dante’s low free-kick around the post.

Tunisia head coach Jalel Kadri is expecting a positive reaction as his squad look to keep alive their Africa Cup of Nations hopes against Mali.

The Eagles of Carthage slumped to a shock defeat by Namibia in their opening Group E match and now face an uphill battle to reach the knockout stages.

Kadri, whose position is reported to be under threat should they fail to qualify, feels the squad can pull together to produce the required performance in Korhogo on Saturday.

“There are two matches remaining – and our reaction must be positive,” he told reporters.

“Then, God willing, we can get out of this situation we have put ourselves in.

“Argentina lost its first World Cup match against Saudi Arabia, but ultimately won the title.”

Tunisia will be without forward Taha Yassine Khenissi, who is set to miss the remainder of the tournament with a knee injury picked up during the first half against Namibia.

Mali kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 win over South Africa to sit top of the table.

Coach Eric Chelle, though, is not getting carried away as Mali aim to make the knockout stages for the first time.

“I would not say we are favourites to win the group just yet. Yes, we got the victory but a lot can still happen,” Chelle said at a press conference.

“We still have matches to play and so we have to keep working hard.”

Hamari Traore and Lassine Sinayoko struck second-half goals as Mali launched their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 2-0 victory over South Africa.

Captain Traore tapped his side into a 60th-minute lead in the Group E encounter in Korhogo before striker Sinayoko quickly added a second.

South Africa had the better of the opening period but paid a heavy price for a penalty miss from former Brighton forward Percy Tau.

Following a relatively uneventful start to the match, the 1996 champions were handed a golden chance to edge ahead after Evidence Makgopa was caught in the face by the elbow of Sikou Niakate inside Mali’s box.

Egyptian referee Mohamed Edel pointed to the spot following VAR intervention, only for Tau to wastefully fire his 19th-minute effort high over the crossbar.

Tau, who left the Seagulls to join Egyptian club Al Ahly in 2021, was then twice denied by Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra as he sought to make amends.

Mali barely threatened in the opening period but nearly snatched the lead in added time when poor defending from Siyanda Xulu and Mothobi Mvala was almost punished by Auxerre forward Sinayoko.

RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara should have put 1972 runners-up Mali in front just four minutes into the second period but he somehow skied over after being slipped clear by Sekou Koita.

Eric Chelle’s side were far better after the restart and grabbed the lead with half an hour remaining.

Koita’s curling left-footed free-kick from the edge of the box was kept out by a combination of South Africa keeper Ronwen Williams and the bar but fell kindly for Real Sociedad defender Traore to poke home.

Sinayoko put the result beyond doubt only six minutes later, escaping Xulu to latch on to Kamory Doumbia’s through ball and jab beyond Bafana Bafana captain Williams.

South Africa never looked like salvaging anything from the game in the closing stages, albeit they did strike the left post through a speculative long-range free-kick deep into added time.

Reigning Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions Senegal and continental powerhouse Ivory Coast have been drawn together for the 2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The biennial tournament is due to be held in Algeria in January and February 2023, with 18 teams competing across five groups. The participants must consist only of players playing in their domestic national league competitions.

Group B looms as the toughest with Senegal drawn alongside two-time AFCON winners Ivory Coast, as well as DR Congo and Uganda. DR Congo missed out on 2022 World Cup qualification in the playoffs to Morocco.

Hosts Algeria are in Group A with 2014 winners Libya, Ethiopia and Mozambique, while Morocco, who have lifted the past two African Nations Championship titles, are in Group C with Ghana, Sudan and Madagascar.

Mali, Angola and Mauritania are in Group D and Cameroon, Congo and Niger make up Group E.

Egypt, who lost last year's AFCON final to Senegal, along with 2022 World Cup participants Tunisia did not enter, while Nigeria failed to qualify.

Furious Nigeria supporters stormed the pitch at the National Stadium in Lagos after rivals Ghana sealed a World Cup spot at the expense of the Super Eagles.

Arsenal's Thomas Partey opened the scoring in the 10th minute for Ghana, before William Troost-Ekong levelled from the penalty spot for the hosts midway through the first half.

Nigeria could not find a crucial second goal, however, with Otto Addo's Ghana side holding on for the 1-1 draw, to progress to Qatar 2022 via away goals after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

The result sparked ugly scenes inside the stadium, with videos on social media showing supporters leaving their seats and smashing equipment at the side of the pitch.

There was heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt after they suffered another dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat to Senegal.

Hosts Senegan recovered from a 1-0 first-leg deficit to beat Egypt by the same margin at the Abdoulaye Wade Stadium, before Salah, with dozens of laser pens seemingly pointing at his face, fired Egypt's first penalty of the shoot-out over the bar.

Mostafa Mohamed later failed with the visitors' fourth kick, allowing Salah’s Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane to slam his penalty past Mohamed El Shenawy and seal Senegal's progress, in a repeat of February's Africa Cup of Nations final triumph.

"We try our best but today was not enough," he wrote. "To all my players and my staff, [I give] my recognition and humble thank you.

"You will be always in my heart. It was my privilege to work and be helped by such dedicated and capable professionals and wonderful friends."

There was stunning late drama in Bilda as Karl Toko Ekambi scored late in extra time to seal a 2-1 win for visitors Cameroon against Algeria, the Indomitable Lions progressing to Qatar via away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Algeria thought they had sealed a place at the World Cup when Ahmed Touba cancelled out Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's opener with two minutes remaining in extra time, but there was just enough time left for Ekambi to seal the most dramatic of victories.

Morocco also booked their place in Friday's World Cup draw with an emphatic 4-1 win over Democratic Republic of Congo. A brace from Azzedine Ounahi, as well as goals from Tarik Tissoudali and Achraf Hakimi, sealed a 5-2 aggregate win over DR Congo, who scored a late consolation through Ben Malango.

Meanwhile, a 0-0 draw for Tunisia against Mali was enough to see the former seal their own place in Qatar after they managed a 1-0 win in the first leg.

Equatorial Guinea advanced to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after Falaye Sacko's missed penalty consigned Mali to a shock 6-5 shoot-out defeat.

Spot-kicks were required to settle a poor round-of-16 showdown after a goalless 120 minutes at Limbe Stadium on Wednesday, and Sacko's tame strike was decisively kept out by Jesus Owono.

Pablo Ganet had passed up the chance to win it for the underdogs when Ibrahim Mounkoro denied him from 12 yards after Mali duo Massadio Haidara and Hamari Traore failed to convert, but Sacko's miss sealed a last-eight meeting with Senegal for Equatorial Guinea on Sunday.

Mali were awarded a penalty late in a drab first half when Josete Miranda was adjudged to bundled Moussa Doumbia over, but referee Bakary Gassama overturned his decision following a check on the pitchside monitor.

The Eagles had been the better side to that point and Mohamed Camara should have put them in front after the break, blazing high over the crossbar from 12 yards out after Yves Bissouma had set him up.

Neither side really looked like winning it in extra time, but it was Equatorial Guinea who were celebrating despite Emilio Nsue blazing the first spot-kick high over the bar and Ganet also fluffing his lines.

Mali claimed Owono had come off his line before Sacko struck the decisive penalty, but their protests were waved away.




Ivory Coast and Egypt will contest arguably the tie of the round on Wednesday as the two giants hope to book their passage to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Carlos Queiroz's Pharaohs failed to impress during the group stage, ultimately reaching the knockouts thanks to 1-0 wins over Guinea-Bissau and Sudan, teams many would expect them to beat comfortably.

They got the job done but now come up against one of the more eye-catching teams from the first round in Ivory Coast, who rounded off the group stage with a 3-1 win over defending champions Algeria.

In Wednesday's other last-16 contest, and the final game of the round, surprise package Equatorial Guinea will hope to continue their promising campaign against Mali, who will be firm favourites.

Ivory Coast v Egypt (16:00 GMT)

Mohamed Salah and Egypt have struggled to rise to the occasion so far in Cameroon – if they cannot get themselves up for this, they will surely be heading home.

This will be the 11th AFCON meeting between these two sides, making it the competition's most-played fixture, and Egypt boast a good record against the Elephants in knockout games.

Ivory Coast have not been successful in any of the previous four elimination clashes – the two most recent were in the 2006 final when Egypt won on penalties, and the semi-final two years later as they ran out 4-1 winners.

As such, Ivory Coast will surely feel they have a score to settle, and Egypt's record of losing each of their past two AFCON knockout matches should give them some optimism.

One to watch: Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

He may be struggling to get a look-in at club level with Arsenal, but Pepe is undoubtedly key for the Elephants. Only Algeria's Youcef Belaili (24) was directly involved in more shots than him in the group stage (19 – 12 shots, seven chances created), while the former Lille winger has been directly involved in more goals than any other Ivory Coast player in the tournament so far (three – two goals, one assist).


Mali v Equatorial Guinea (19:00)

Mali may have come through the group stage unbeaten, but Equatorial Guinea will not be writing themselves off producing a shock here.

After all, Les Aigles have had to largely rely on penalties to get their goals, highlighting that their route to this stage has not been entirely emphatic, while Equatorial Guinea have overcome greater odds.

In their previous four AFCON knockout games, they have progressed twice – both of those came in 2015, when they caused upsets by getting past Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This edition of the tournament has seen its fair share of shocks already. Could Mali be the latest to be guilty of complacency?

One to watch: Adama Noss Traore (Mali)

As mentioned, Mali have almost entirely got by on penalties, with three of their four goals coming via Ibrahima Kone's spot-kicks. That meant they scored just once from 27 open play shots in the group stage, yet their non-penalty expected goals (xG) of 3.6 suggests chance creation was not the issue. Traore was their most effective player in that respect with his set-piece deliveries, tallying a squad-high key passes.


Mali took top spot in Group F at the Africa Cup of Nations after coasting to a 2-0 win over Mauritania in their final pool fixture.

The Eagles needed simply to better Gambia's result to lead the standings and did so as their rivals won only 1-0 against Tunisia.

Mali were already through regardless, though, and so there was little jeopardy even before Massadio Haidara's second-minute opener – the earliest strike at the tournament so far.

The Lens left-back scored a scruffy first international goal when Moussa Doumbia touched a right-wing cross into his path.

Mauritania never truly looked like responding, although Ibrahima Kone's penalty was ultimately required to pip Gambia, the forward thrashing in after a clumsy foul on Doumbia early in the second half.

Algeria could become the second major casualty of the Africa Cup of Nations as the group stages are concluded on Thursday.

The defending champions head into their final – and arguably toughest – Group E match in a desperate position after failing to impress in their first two outings.

Thursday will also bring an end to Group F, where Algeria's neighbours Tunisia have plenty of work to do as well.

Ivory Coast v Algeria (16:00 GMT)

With one point from two matches, Algeria head into matchday three bottom of Group E and staring into the abyss of elimination.

Only a victory against group leaders Ivory Coast will be enough to take them into the knockouts, otherwise they will fall at the first hurdle for the third time in five AFCON tournaments.

Ivory Coast will be hoping to gain a measure of revenge for their 2019 quarter-final penalty shoot-out defeat to the Fennec Foxes, with the Elephants heading into the game unbeaten in five AFCON games.

They too have something to play for, with top spot still up for grabs.

One to watch: Youcef Belaili (Algeria)

You certainly cannot fault the effort of winger Belaili, given his eight shots is three more than any of his team-mates and he has also tallied the most touches in the opposition's box (11), but there is little getting away from the fact Algeria in general need to sharpen up in front of goal if they are to avoid following Ghana into shock elimination.


Sierra Leone v Equatorial Guinea (16:00 GMT)

Before the tournament started, few would have given this pair much hope of finishing in the top two, yet either could grasp that opportunity on Thursday.

Equatorial Guinea are second and hold a one-point advantage, meaning a draw may well be enough to get them through at least as one of the best third-placed teams.

But Sierra Leone drew 2-2 with Ivory Coast last time out following a goalless stalemate with Algeria – the results showed they are not to be taken lightly.

Equatorial Guinea will be favourites, however, and they have only ever lost two of their eight AFCON group games.

One to watch: Mohamed Nbalie Kamara (Sierra Leone)

Kamara has been one of the standout goalkeepers at the tournament so far. His 12 saves are the most of anyone, and those stops have seen him record a 'goals prevented' record of 2.1, the second-best record among keepers at the AFCON.


Gambia v Tunisia (19:00 GMT)

Although Tunisia could potentially sneak through as one of the best third-place teams with their current haul of three points, it would be a disappointing group stage total for a side that came into the tournament with high expectations.

Yet the Carthage Eagles' situation is slightly complicated by the fact they recorded seven new positive COVID-19 cases in the build-up, with key players Wahbi Khazri and Ali Maaloul among them.

That will be a boost to Gambia, however, with the Scorpions aiming to become only the third AFCON debutants this century to go unbeaten in the group stage.

But Tunisia have not lost to an AFCON debutant since the 1996 final.

One to watch: Hannibal Mejbri (Tunisia)

Manchester United youngster Hannibal has been used sparingly in this tournament, playing just 45 minutes so far. Yet, his tally of two chances created is only bettered by Khazri and Maaloul (both on three), and given Tunisia's COVID-19 issues, a first start may be on the cards.


Mali v Mauritania (19:00 GMT)

A wonderful chance presents itself here for Mali, as they target topping Group F.

If they better Gambia's result against Tunisia, that is exactly what they will achieve, as well as extending their longest ever group stage unbeaten run to seven matches.

Anything other than a Mali win would be a significant surprise given Mauritania are bottom of the group and pointless, their five goals conceded second-worse to Ethiopia, who have played a game more.

One to watch: Ibrahima Kone (Mali)

Kone has played a prominent role in Mali's solid start to the tournament, scoring a penalty in each of their two matches. If he nets against Mauritania, he will be the first Malian to tally get three goals in a single AFCON edition since former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita in 2013.


Musa Barrow's last-minute penalty rescued a point for Gambia in their 1-1 draw with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations.

There was late VAR drama at Stade Municipal de Limbe with referee Samir Guezzaz awarding of two spot-kicks in the final 11 minutes of the Group F encounter.

First, Ibrahima Kone slotted home from 12 yards for the second game running after Yves Bissouma was dragged down by Ebrima Adams in the box.

That was the 22nd goal that Mali have scored after half-time in the Africa Cup of Nations since 2010, with only Ivory Coast (25) doing so more often during that span.

The Eagles were on course to win their opening two games in the competition for the first time since 2004, until Bissouma was penalised for handball in the closing moments.

Having hit the crossbar with a brilliant first-half free-kick, there was no denying Barrow this time around as the Bologna forward calmly sent Ibrahim Mounkoro the wrong way to ensure a share of the spoils.

Sunday's action at the Africa Cup of Nations will see two former winners go in search of much-needed points.

Algeria, champions in 1990 and three years ago, were held to a surprise draw by Sierra Leone on matchday one and sit second in Group E.

North African neighbours Tunisia, who won the tournament back in 2004, started their campaign with a 1-0 defeat to 10-man Mali and are in desperate need of a result against Mauritania.

Mali will take on Gambia, while the Ivory Coast will look to consolidate top spot in their group when they meet Sierra Leone.


Gambia v Mali

Gambia are bidding to become the first debutants to win their opening two matches at the Africa Cup of Nations since Equatorial Guinea did so in 2012.

That said, Mali are on a run of three wins in five AFCON games – as many as in their previous 15 in the competition – and are looking for consecutive victories to start the group for the first time since 2004.

In what will be a first meeting of these sides in this tournament, the advice is to keep your eye on the action in the second half: in the past 12 years, Mali have scored 21 of their 31 goals in this competition after half-time, a figure second only to Ivory Coast (25).

One to watch: Hamari Traore

Rennes captain Traore made nine final-third entries against Tunisia, the most of any player, as he proved a dangerous outlet. He could be a major threat.


Tunisia v Mauritania

Tunisia's shock loss to Mali was their third in a row at the AFCON, something they last suffered in 2004. They have never before lost four consecutive matches at this tournament.

The 2004 champions are also enduring a four-game winless run in the group stage and were held to a goalless draw by Mauritania in 2019 in their only previous meeting in this competition.

Mauritania, still without a victory at the Africa Cup of Nations, will at least hope to end a three-game run without a goal.

One to watch: Wahbi Khazri

Khazri missed a crucial 77th-minute penalty against Mali during a frustrating performance. The Saint-Etienne forward will be more determined that anyone to make amends.


Ivory Coast v Sierra Leone

Ivory Coast are seeking a third consecutive win in the AFCON group stages, something they last managed between January 2010 and January 2013.

History is on their side against Sierra Leone: they won the only previous meeting at this competition 4-0 back in 1994, in which Joel Tiehi scored a hat-trick - something no Ivory Coast player has managed since in the AFCON.

Sierra Leone have not scored in five of their previous six games at this event, only managing to do so against Burkina Faso in 1996, but they do have a man in good form at these finals...

One to watch: Mohamed Nbalie Kamara

Having studied Algeria's Riyad Mahrez by watching Manchester City footage, Sierra Leone goalkeeper became a national hero for his performance in their opening game. He even won praise from the country's president, Julius Maada Bio, who delivered a personal message of thanks on social media.

Algeria v Equatorial Guinea

The third-highest-ranked African side were frustrated on matchday one, and there will be a determination to put things right.

They do at least boast an impressive defensive record, having gone unbeaten in nine matches in this tournament and kept six clean sheets in their most recent eight games.

Equatorial Guinea have won just one AFCON match since getting two victories on their tournament debut in 2012. Still, they were unbeaten in five games before these finals and beat Tunisia in World Cup qualifying towards the end of last year.

One to watch: Youcef Belaili

Belaili created six opportunities on matchday one, taking his tally to 18 in the competition overall. That is double the amount of chances created by any other Algeria player since his debut three years ago.


Africa Cup of Nations chiefs have launched an investigation into why referee Janny Sikazwe blew for full-time twice before 90 minutes was up in Tunisia's match against Mali.

Tunisia head coach Mondher Kebaier described Sikazwe's officiating of Wednesday's game as "inexplicable".

Mali were leading the Group F match 1-0 through a Ibrahima Kone penalty when the Zambian official blew for full-time in the 85th minute.

Kebaier realised his error and play resumed for another four minutes, during which time Mali forward El Bilal Toure was dismissed, before blowing again with 13 seconds of the 90 minutes to go.

That was despite there being a number of stoppages in the second half, including a couple of lengthy VAR checks for Kone's penalty and one that Wahbi Khazri missed for Tunisia.

Tunisia officials stormed onto the field to protest and later refused to send their team back to the field when it was decided to play on for the final stages.

Now the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed it is probing the circumstances of the farcical and controversial scenes, which grabbed global attention.

It has been reported that Sikazwe was taken to hospital after the game, with the effects of heatstroke and dehydration having caused him to lose focus.

"In relation to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali played in Limbe on 12 January 2022, CAF is gathering all the necessary reports from the officials at the match," a CAF statement read.

"CAF is forwarding these documents to the competent bodies of CAF. At this stage, CAF is not in a position to make further comment until the responsible bodies indicate the way forward."


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