The Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali ended in huge controversy after the referee blew for full-time on two occasions before the 90th minute, with the game not restarting following the latter whistle.

Mali led 1-0 thanks to a Ibrahima Kone penalty and saved a Tunisian spot-kick in the closing minutes as they battled for an opening victory.

Referee Janny Sikazwe blew his whistle for full-time with 85 minutes on the clock but resumed the game after protests by the Tunisian players and staff.

A red card was then awarded to Mali's El Bilal Toure, which required a VAR check, while both penalties were also following VAR reviews.

There were further stoppages in the half, including a cooling break, so several minutes of extra-time were expected and the fourth official had his board in hand with 20 seconds of normal time remaining.

Sikazwe, however, once again signalled the end of the game before the clock reached 90 minutes and this time ignored the Tunisian anger.

Security officials had to escort the official from the pitch in bizarre scenes at the end of the game in Cameroon.

Mali were undergoing their post-match press conference when AFCON ordered the match be restarted.

The players re-entered the pitch but Tunisia did not show and the referee once again declared the match to be over on an embarrassing day for the competition.