Refree Janny Sikazwe made series of errors as Mali kicked off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign on a winning note, following a 1-0 victory over Tunisia in a Group F clash at the Limbe Stadium on Wednesday.
Ibrahima Kone gifted the West African side the lead from the penalty spot after Skhiri handled a shot just inside the area.
Mali keeper Ibrahim Mounkoro later saved a spot-kick from Wahbi Khazri in the 78th minute to deny Tunisia an equalizer.
The match had ended in controversy after Sikazwe blew the final whistle twice before 90 minutes and failed to add injury time.
Carthage Eagles Coach, Mondher Kebaier and his technical staff rushed onto the field at full-time to confront the Zambian official who appeared to have blown his full-time whistle with five minutes remaining.
Mali’s El Bilal Toure was shown a red card late on after VAR check revealed a challenge on a Tunisian player.
The victory placed Mali at the summit of Group F which also has Gambia and Mauritania, while Tunisia took to the bottom