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How football would look if blunder Afcon referee was in charge of historic games with no Man Utd treble or Aguero goal

MALI'S Africa Cup of Nations clash with Tunisia ended in farce as the referee blew the final whistle too early.

The Tunisians, trailing 1-0 at the time, were left completely incensed as Zambian official Janny Sikazwe blew up with the clock at 89:48.


Bafflingly he'd also appeared to blow for full-time in the 86th minute… before waving play on.

The half hadn't been short of action – with penalties awarded for both sides, while El Bilal Toure was sent off for Mali.

Tunisia thought they'd get a fair chunk of added time in which to try and equalise – but Sikazwe had other ideas.

The Eagles of Carthage were eventually invited to finish the game by tournament organisers, but furiously declined with press conferences having already started.

The incident got us thinking – what would have happened if this blunder had happened in other huge games down the years?

Let's run through seven of the most interesting examples.

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BAYERN WIN 1999 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

As the clock hit 89:48 on that famous night in Barcelona, Manchester United were behind in the 1999 Champions League final.

If the whistle had been blown by referee Pierluigi Collina there'd have been no Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heroics – and no famous treble.

Mario Basler's sixth minute effort would have been the winner and Bayern Munich would have been crowned champions of Europe.

Still, every cloud United fans – if this had happened Solskjaer may well have not gone on to be appointed manager nearly 20 years on.

MAN UTD WIN PREM IN 2012

Not only would Sergio Aguero's famous title winner for Manchester City have never happened, but they wouldn't have even had time for Edin Dzeko's equaliser.

Roberto Mancini's side would have lost 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers and instead of being remembered as heroes, they would have gone down among the biggest bottlers in Prem history.

Sir Alex Ferguson may well have retired a year earlier, however, which could have enabled City to win it the following year in 2013 instead.

But needless to say, no alternative title win could have been half as iconic as their 2012 effort.

LIVERPOOL WIN 1989 TITLE

The original 'Aguero' moment belonged to Arsenal's Michael Thomas.

It was the impossible job. The Gunners had to go to Anfield on the final day of the 1988-89 season and beat Liverpool – undoubtedly the defining team of the 1980s – by two goals to clinch the title on goal difference.

Alan Smith's 53rd minute effort gave Arsenal hope but Thomas' clincher didn't come until the 91st – meaning Sizakwe's whistle would have thwarted them.

The Reds went on to win the league the next year anyway before a 30-year drought.

If they'd beaten Arsenal, however, they would currently be level on 20 titles with Man United.

WEST HAM WIN 2006 FA CUP

The year is 2006 – David Beckham is England captain, Crazy by Gnarls Barkley is No1 in the charts, and Alan Pardew is about to win the FA Cup.

No, really.

Pards' Hammers led Liverpool 3-2 at the Millennium Stadium before Steven Gerrard wrote his name into FA Cup folklore with an astonishing stoppage-time wonderstrike to take matters to extra time – with the Reds going on to win it on penalties.

West Ham's wait for a trophy since 1980 goes on to this day, although an early whistle in Cardiff could have made things oh so different.

ENGLAND FAIL TO REACH 2002 WORLD CUP

It was the ultimate redemption arc for Beckham, as his 93rd minute free-kick flew in against Greece.

England needed a point at Old Trafford in October 2001 in order to beat Germany to an automatic place at the 2002 World Cup.

Becks had been a hate figure in the country after the 1998 World Cup, in which he was red carded against Argentina for kicking out at Diego Simeone.

If his epic effort hadn't been allowed to happen, perhaps he wouldn't quite be the Golden Balls we know and love today in quite the same way.

CHELSEA REACH 2009 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Pep Guardiola's first year at Barcelona is remembered for his side being all-conquering – quite literally winning every single competition that they entered.

But it very nearly wasn't the case.

Had there been no stoppage-time in the semi-final second-leg against Chelsea, Andres Iniesta would never have had the opportunity to break Blue hearts and send his side to the final.

The West Londoners would have faced Manchester United for the second consecutive year, solidifying English football's dominance and giving Sir Alex the opportunity to win his third European crown.

AJAX REACH 2019 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Ten years after Andres Iniesta's Stamford Bridge heroics, Lucas Moura immortalised his position in Tottenham Hotspur folklore by scoring a second-half hat-trick in Amsterdam to send his side to the Champions League final.

But had the whistle already been blown, it would have been glorious failure for Mauricio Pochettino's likeable side.

Would Ajax have had a better chance in the final against Liverpool?

And equally, would Spurs have returned to pre-season quite as mentally shattered as they appeared after their Madrid defeat by the Reds? This may well have been a pivotal sliding doors moment for all teams involved.

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