Despite Game Being Suspended in Limbo, Ethiopia Qualifies for AFCON

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Ethiopia has booked its spot in the next 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) despite its game to Ivory Coast being forced to stop on the 83rd minute.

The Walia Ibex will see themselves in next year’s tournament, which Cameroon will host without waiting for the outcome of their remaining minutes, the faith of which is still not determined.

The qualification of Ethiopia to the AFCON came as the other contender in the qualification group, Madagascar, lost points as it drew with Niger.

Today’s result put the Walia Ibex to second place in the group standings with nine points – just one point above third-placed Madagascar.

The game 

Ivory Coast entered the game sitting at the top of the group standings; meanwhile, Ethiopia came to the game with boosted hopes of qualifying for the finals as they have thumped a hapless Madagascar side 4-0 at home in their previous Group K match, which was played on 24 March.

The Elephants had already secured their spot in next year’s tournament and entered the game comfortably.  

However, the feel of the game was determined very early as the Ivorian’s put an early goal in the third minute by Willy Boly.

Ivory Coast further strengthens their lead on the 20th minute as they put in a second goal through a penalty by Franck Kessie.    

The two sides went into the second half with this score, and it remained the same way into the second half.

But things looked like they were going to turn around for Ethiopia when Getaneh Kebede scored a goal after putting touch on the ball that was crossed from the left side on the 74th minute.

However, the happiness was short-lived as Jean Kouass put in the third goal for the Ivorian two minutes after Ethiopia’s goal.  

Moreover, a dramatic event happened at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in the 83rd minute, leading to the game being on Limbo.

The Case of the Referee

The referee passed out on the field, needing medical assistance. The game was forced to be on hold until a replacement was made and the referee was taken out of the stadium on a stretcher.  

The hot weather was blamed for the collapsing of the referee as the game was being played in mid-day in Abidjan.

However, the game had no fourth official. The initial match referee was out of the game after testing positive for COVID-19, and the referee who was to be the fourth official was drafted into the center.

As there was no one to replace the collapsed referee, the game was put to a premature end, with the final whistle being made by the second assistant referee.  

The Result 

As the Ethiopia Vs. Ivory Coast ended unexpectedly, eyes then turned to the Niger Vs. Madagascar game that was being played at the same time. As the game ended in a draw, Ethiopia secured its place in the next African tournament, following Ivory Coast with nine points.

Ethiopia, one of the founding fathers of the African game, is back at the tournament, hoping to write history.

It’s to be recalled that the nation made its last appearance at the Cup in 2013, a history made after 31 years.  

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