BATA, Equatorial Guinea (Reuters) – Tunisia coach George Leekens (Reuters photo below) slammed the referee after his side were surprisingly knocked out of the African Nations Cup at the hands of hosts Equatorial Guinea, saying the result was “forced”.
Tunisia had control of Saturday’s quarter-final heading into the dying minutes following a 70th minute Ahmed Akaichi opener, but the hosts were awarded a penalty in the last minute as Ivan Bolado fell to the ground under pressure from Ali Maaloul.
Javier Balboa converted the resulting penalty, before driving home a sumptuous free-kick in extra time for a 2-1 upset win.
Angry scenes erupted after the match and referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn was forcibly escorted from the pitch to protect him from the raging North Africans.
“In all my 45 years in football,” Leekens told reporters, “15 as a player and 30 as a coach, I’ve never seen anything like it, today’s result was forced.
“The referee has made a huge error, It’s hard to accept certain things in life, like the loss of a child, the loss of family.
“We played a good game, we’ve worked like mad men, we had a difficult first two weeks and we didn’t deserve that.”