Bailly misses penalty after heroic performance
Eric Bailly suffered a heartbreaking end to his Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Ivory Coast on Tuesday, after the Elephants were knocked out at the last-16 stage by Egypt.
The match finished 0-0 after extra-time, but Egypt edged the crucial penalty shootout 5-4, with Bailly's missed spot-kick proving decisive.
But the Reds' centre-back could hold his head up high, after an outstanding performance that earned rave reviews from pundits and across social media.
His display was doubly impressive, given that Bailly was wearing a protective headguard due to an injury sustained in a 2-2 draw with Sierra Leone during the group stage of the competition.
However, ultimately, Bailly and his nation have fallen just short of the last eight, and the 27-year-old will not join United team-mate Hannibal (Tunisia) in the last eight.
The match took place in the coastal city of Douala in southwestern Cameroon, and was an entertaining affair – despite an absence of goals across the 120 minutes.
Both teams carved out plenty of chances, despite a fairly ordinary pitch, and Bailly did as much as anyone to ensure his own team avoided conceding.
He produced a series of brave headers, blocks and clearances, which inspired a wave of tributes from United fans and journalists.
BBC reporter Rob Stevens wrote: “The finale was somewhat harsh on Manchester United defender Bailly, who had performed superbly at the back while sporting a rugby scrum cap on his return from a head injury.”
The Times' Henry Winter added: “[Bailly] played so well. Dominant at the back.”
However, when Eric stepped up to take his country's third penalty in the climactic shootout, his effort was saved by Egyptian goalkeeper Gabaski.
Mohamed Salah then converted Egypt's final penalty, clinching the game for the north African side and easing them through to the quarter-finals.
Our young midfielder Hannibal will also compete in the last eight: he and his Tunisia team-mates shocked Nigeria 1-0 on Sunday, and will now face Burkina Faso on Saturday (29 January) for a place in the semi-finals.
WHEN ARE THE QUARTER-FINALS?
SATURDAY 29 JANUARY 2022
Gambia v Cameroon (16:00)
Burkina Faso v Tunisia (19:00)
SUNDAY 30 JANUARY
Egypt v Morocco (16:00)
Senegal v Equatorial Guinea (19:00)
All times specified are GMT.