Guinea secured their place in the semi-finals of the African Nations Championship in Cameroon on Sunday after defeating Rwanda 1-0 in a match which saw both sides finish with ten men at the Limbe Stadium.
The VAR intervened twice during the quarter-final match to ensure that Syli National midfielder Mory Kante and Rwanda goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera were sent off in separate incidents.
Guinea playmaker Morlaye Sylla scored from the resultantly free-kick in the 60th minute after Kwizera was penalised for his late tackle on advancing striker Yakhouba Barry.
The goal was enough to send Guinea to the last four of the tournament in the Central African country where they will face neighbours Mali on Wednesday.
Guinea suffered a big blow in the15th minute when captain and midfielder Mory Kante was sent off after VAR review after an incident in midfield.
The AS Kaloum player was shown the door for the serious tackle on captain Jacques Tuyisenge that led to the forced substitution of the Rwandan captain because of the resultant injury.
Injuries forced Rwanda to make two early substitutions as Tuyisenge left the pitch to be replaced by Sugira Ernest following the injury.
Martin Twizeyimana took the place of Rashid Kalisa on the half hour mark as he was also forced out of the game because of injury.
Despite the early substitutions, the Amavubi made their numerical advantage count by pinning the Guineans on their side forcing goalkeeper Camara Moussa to come out to make some saves.
The West Africans also worked hard in defence following a flurry of attacks into their area while they relied on counter-attacks to punish the Rwandans.
Against the run of play, the brightest chance of the first-half fell to defender Mohammed Bangoura but the left-back’s 44th minute volley after Naby Camara’s cross went off a Rwandan defender allowing goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera to smothered the ball.
The game resumed and Ernest Sugira had a great chance to break the deadlock from two yards out but he managed to smash it against the upright before the ball went out.
Moments later Kwizera was sent off following another intervention by the VAR as he Rwanda goalkeeper was found to have fouled by advancing tournament leading scorer Yakhouba Barry.
Playmaker Morlaye Sllya curled the resultant free-kick beyond substitute goalkeeper Yves Kimenyi on the hour mark to break the deadlock.
Rwanda fought back strongly and in the 66th minute striker Dominique Nshuti header went off the crossbar to the delight of the Guineans.
Syli National poured forward in search of another goal but they missed decent scoring chances late in the game as the Amavubi looked tired late in the game.
Victor Kantabadouno tried to lob the Rwandan goalkeeper in the 78th minute which went wide before substitute striker Ousmane Camara also missed with a similar attempt with four minutes remaining which all but sealed the tie for the West Africans
The result of the match means Guinea are through to the last four of the tournament designed exclusively for home-based players.
The semi-final will start on Wednesday when Guinea take on Mali at the Japoma Stadium in Douala.
The other last four match will be played on the same day between hosts Cameroon and title holders Morocco at the Limbe Stadium.
The winners of Wednesday's matches will clash in the final at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Saturday.
The losers will play in the third-place playoff at the Reunification Stadium in Douala on Friday.
What they said
Guinea coach Mohamed Kanfory Bangoura
"The early red card disorganised us, but it gave us opportunity to change strategy and win the game."
"I told the boys to keep fighting so that we don't spoil our stay in Cameroon."
Rwanda coach Vincent Mashami
"The best team lost the match. But this is football and sometimes you win and other times suffer defeat."
"The early injury to our captain and another attacking midfielder destabilised us a lot."