The Teranga Lions of Senegal were the heavy favourites going into the AFCON 2021 round of 16 clash against Blue Sharks of Cape Verde.
Less than 22 minutes into the game, Senegal became a certain winner when captain Patrick Andrade was given a red card for a wreckless play.
The Blue Sharks held their own against the Teranga Lions of Senegal but again, in the second half 57 minutes into the game goalkeeper Vozinha got his marching orders as well.
Vozinha was red-carded for attempting to head a ball that he and Saido Mane contested for. Both players fell, and Vozinha was told could not continue due to concussion protocals.
While still in pain, Algerian referee Lahlou Benbraham gave him a red card after consulting the VAR to the amazement of everyone.
Cape Verde playing with 9-man conceded a goal from Saido Mane’s strike – the Liverpool man was also substituted due to concussion protocol.
Senegal got the second goal in the dying minutes through Ahmadou Bamba Dieng.
The decision by the referee to hand two red cards to Cape Verde especially to goalkeeper Vozinha generated controversy and Nigerian referee Nsikakabasi Akpan explained the rule behind the decisions.
“It is football. The referees are only interpreting the rules as it is,” says Nsikakabasi
“Referees do not employ emotion and pity when interpreting the rules so you don’t blame the new trend of Red Cards at AFCON on the Referees.
“It goes to show that we are seeing more tackles with Excessive force and the Red Card is the penalty for such.
“As fans it’s Normal to pity teams and be emotional about decisions but I tell you it’s not the fault of the Referees.”
A total of 13 red cards have been issued so far this tournament – 7 have been issued in the second round including Alex Iwobi’s.