There was drama on day four at the Afcon as Mali edged Tunisia 1-0 in a game marred by refereeing controversy while Ivory Coast and Gambia also picked up 1-0 wins over Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania, respectively.
Mali 1-0 Tunisia
In a controversial match, to say the least, Mali triumphed through a 48th-minute penalty converted by Ibrahima Kone while Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri later missed a spot kick in a frantic finish, during which Mali had a man sent off before Zambian official Janny Sikazwe blew for full time in the 85th minute – rightfully angering both sets of players – before resuming the game shortly after.
With many expecting a lengthy stoppage time, the referee instead shocked everyone once again as he blew his whistle on 89 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.
Ivory Coast 1-0 Equatorial Guinea
A stunning early strike by Max-Alain Gradel gave Ivory Coast a 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea in their opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations in Douala on Wednesday.
Gradel, the former Bournemouth and Saint-Etienne winger who now plays club football in Turkey, fired home an unstoppable shot from 20 metres in the fifth minute at the Japoma Stadium that proved enough for the Elephants.
It was the ideal start for the 2015 African champions in Group E after reigning champions Algeria were held to a 0-0 draw by Sierra Leone at the same venue on Tuesday.
The Ivorians play Sierra Leone in their next match on Sunday, before Algeria take on Equatorial Guinea.
Gambia 1-0 Mauritania
Debutants Gambia beat Mauritania 1-0 on Wednesday in an Afcon Group F match in Limbe overshadowed by the bizarre finish to an earlier game Mali won by the same score against Tunisia.
A Gambian throw-in on 10 minutes began a move that finished with Ablie Jallow slamming a rising shot over goalkeeper Diop Babacar, who had strayed slightly off his line to hand them victory.
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