Manchester United starlet Hannibal is currently with Tunisia at the Africa Cup.

They started their campaign this afternoon with a clash against Mali and Hannibal entered the starting XI as part of the top three.

(Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP via Getty Images)

Frustrating tournament start

The first half was a real non-event, there were no shots on goal for either side. This continued the topic of a goalless tournament start on a broad front.

Tunisia clearly wanted to change something after the break and Hannibal paid the price. He was hooked at half time and was replaced by Saîf-Eddine Khaoui.

In the first half, Hannibal only had 17 touches, according to WhoScored.

In the first 45 minutes he created two chances through key passes. No Tunisian player created more, not even among those who played for the entire game.

These key passes were two of only nine passes he could make in the entire half, averaging one every five minutes.

It was a frustrating start to the tournament for Hannibal. Part of the problem was that he wasn’t playing at his best, but also that Tunisia couldn’t get him into the game enough.

This is a big tournament for him and maybe he was a little intimidated as an inexperienced player and the fact that the game was flat and the overall team performance wasn’t great didn’t help him.

Now it’s all about how he recovers and he needs his manager Mondher Kebaier, who will accompany him in the next game on Sunday afternoon against Mauritania.

(Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP via Getty Images)

Dispute over referee

In the end, Mali won the game 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Ibrahima Kone. The decision to give handball to Ellyes Skhiri was questionable as the Cologne midfielder was not looking at the ball.

Tunisia had a chance to equalize later in the second half, but Wahbi Khazri – formerly Sunderland – missed the penalty after another marginal penalty decision.

Then referee Janny Sikazwe whistled five minutes before the end.

And that despite the two above-mentioned VAR checks, substitutions and a drink break, which would have added a lot of stoppage time.

In the end, Sikazwe finished the game at 89:44, which caused angry scenes when Tunisia’s coaches demonstrated to the referee on the pitch at the final whistle.

CAF officials decided that the remaining minutes of #TeamTunisia vs #TeamMali would be played with another referee. Mali players appeared on the field but Tunisian players did not.

Game ends, Mali wins 1-0

– Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) January 12, 2022

Tunisia had the opportunity to end the game but were not used despite the opposition to do so.

It’s been an even more frustrating afternoon for Hannibal and Tunisia and they will try to move on quickly.

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