Pulse Recap: Controversy mars AFCON 2021 matchday 4 as Mali, Gambia & Ivory Coast win

It was a dramatic day at the AFCON 2021 as round one ended with plenty of controversies in Cameroon.

Janny Sikazwe was the star of matchday 4 for all the wrong reasons.

It was curtains on the first round of matches at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON 2021, in Cameroon following the game between Equatorial Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire.

There were three matches, three goals, and three victories on matchday four as the first round ended with a total of 12 goals scored by all the teams.

Here is a recap of what happened on a very bizarre and interesting matchday four;

The final day of the first round of games kicked off with the first game in Group F as Mali and Tunisia battled each other.

However, it ended in controversies after the centre referee, Janny Sikazwe, decided to be the star of the day for the wrong reasons.

The Zambian official made some questionable calls all through the encounter, including bizarrely blowing the final whistle twice before full time.

Ibrahima Kone expertly converted the only goal of the game from the spot after Sikazwe awarded Mali a penalty in the second half.

He also denied Tunisia a penalty before VAR called his attention and he overturned his decision.

But the Carthage Eagles captain, Khaziri, failed to convert his spot-kick to level the score before Mr. Sikazwe ignored the VAR to reduce Mali to ten men and then proceeded to blow the first final whistle with 85 minutes on the clock.

After a protest from the Tunisian bench, the game restarted and three minutes later, with 89 minutes, 43 seconds on the clock, the FIFA-badged official blew the whistle for full time for the second time.

With so much confusion in the air as both teams stepped out of the pitch, Sikazwe and his assistants walked off the pitch with security protection.

CAF intervened later and requested that both teams returned to the pitch to complete the game, only the Malians did as Tunisia refused to continue the match.

The Eagles of Mali were handed a 1-0 win and all three points as they took charge of Group F.

It was a historic day in Gambian football after the Scorpions kicked off their campaign with their first-ever win at the African Cup of Nations.

Ablie Jallow was the hero of the day for the debutants after he scored the historic goal, a left-footed beauty in the first half to enter into Gambian football folklore.

Mauritania did all their best there and dominated the encounter after that goal but the Gambians held on for a fantastic win and start to the 2021 competition.

A beautiful day for the Gambia, which is the only team to have made it to Cameroon through the playoffs before winning their group in the qualifiers.

The final match of the day saw the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in the second game in Group E.

Max-Alain Gradel, captain of the side, netted the only goal and decisive winner with a ferocious first-half strike to down a wasteful Nzalang Nacional.

Equatorial Guinea had chances to equalise but a combination of poor finishing and brilliant goalkeeping from Ivory Coast's Bandra Ali Sangare ensured the Elephants ended the game with all three points that see them move top of the group.

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