Senegal’s match against Tunisia ends in controversy with Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) at the centre of the storm. The referee awarded Tunisia a penalty in the 73rd minute after Kalidou Koulibaly blocked Ferjani Sassi’s shot with his hand which seems to be quite unfair as he was going down.
Additionally, the referee gave Koulibaly a yellow card which resulted in him missing the finals but Sassi’s penalty was saved by the keeper, keeping the game goalless.
However, 7 minutes later, Senegal was awarded a penalty when Ismaïla Sarr was fouled in the box which seems to be a soft penalty. However, the Tunisian goal-keeper, Mouez Hassen saved Henri Saivet’s penalty in the 80th minute forcing the game into extra time.
Senegal broke the deadlock with a fortunate own goal after the Tunisian goalkeeper mishandled a freekick as he punched the ball onto his fellow teammate head, Dylan Bronn in the 101st minute.
The game ended in controversy when Koulibaly headed a ball onto Idrissa Gueye’s hand in the box so the referee pointed at the penalty spot at the 113th minute.
Judging by the other penalties the referee gave in this game, this one was the clearest of them all but the referee consulted with VAR and using the images we were shown, the referee did not have a good angle of the ball connecting the arm. As a result, the referee ruled out the penalty and Senegal went on to win the match breaking Tunisian hearts.
In the other semi-finals, Riyad Mahrez ran the show after forcing Wiliam Troost-Ekong to score an own goal after crossing the ball into the box in the 40th minute.
Nigeria was awarded a penalty in the 71st minute after Aïssa Mandi blocked Oghenekaro Etebo with his hand. Odion Ighalo scored to bring the game back on level terms.
Algeria was awarded a free kick 20 yards from the goal which would have been the last kick of the game in normal time so Mahrez step up scored a fabulous freekick in the 95th minute to allow Algeria join Senegal in the finals.
This is the second time both teams faced in the competition after Algeria coming out victorious in the group stages with Mohamed Youcef Belaïli goal dividing both sides. However, without their world-class centre back Koulibably, Senegal will find it hard to keep Riyad Mahrez quiet and judging by their past games, they need to be more clinical in front of goal.
The final will take place on 19th July 2019 which will end another eventful tournament.
Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash
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