AFCON 2021: Late frustration for Bailly

Sunday 16 January 2022 18:20

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly suffered late frustration as Ivory Coast were held to a 2-2 draw by Sierra Leone at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The defender was withdrawn just before the injury-time leveller after the Elephants looked well on course for two wins from two games in Group E.

Franck Kessie's 12th-minute penalty was saved by Nbalie Kamara after Wilfried Zaha was brought down inside the box before, 12 minutes later, the opener arrived through Sebastien Haller, who converted Zaha's fine through ball.

Sierra Leone replied with a stunning strike by Musa Kamara in the second half but Arsenal attacker Nicolas Pepe finished off good work by Haller and Kessie to restore Ivory Coast's lead.

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That looked to be enough to secure another success, with the Elephants appearing more likely to score the next goal. However, a mistake by keeper Badri Ali Sangare, when trying to prevent a corner, allowed Alhaji Kamara to eventually bag a stoppage-time equaliser by stumbling but then touching in Steven Caulker's pass.

The dramatic conclusion came just after Bailly was forced to withdraw due to an apparent head injury, with Odilon Kossounou taking his place.

Ivory Coast are still top of the group, ahead of the eagerly anticipated clash with Algeria on Thursday.

Hannibal was an unused substitute as Tunisia comfortably saw off Mauritania 4-0 in Group F.

It was a welcome three points after the controversial defeat to Mali and the tie was pretty one-sided from the outset.

Hamza Mathlouthi smashed home inside four minutes and Wahbi Khazri soon doubled the lead. Khazri netted again after the interval with Seifeddine Zaziri claiming the fourth. Tunisia could even afford to miss a penalty, through Youssef Msakni, but will approach Thursday's test against Gambia in good heart.

Hannibal was left on the bench for Tunisia against Mauritania.
In Bailly's first game, Ivory Coast beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0, with the defender playing the full 90 minutes. The early goal came from former Leicester City and Leeds United forward Max-Alain Gradel.

Ex-Red Zaha was one of three substitutes who came on for Ivory Coast in the 71st minute; another, Arsenal attacker Nicolas Pepe, was prevented from doubling their lead when Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Manuel Sapunga made a fine save.

Hannibal, was on the wrong end of the previous one end of a 1-0 reverse as Tunisia lost to Mali.

The 18-year-old United midfielder played the opening 45 minutes, after being handed his 10th international appearance by manager Mondher Kebaier. In a quiet opening half, the 2004 champions were largely on the back foot against an attacking Mali side featuring Southampton winger Moussa Djenepo, with Yves Bissouma of Brighton eventually introduced from the bench.

Hannibal played on the right of Tunisia's front three but was withdrawn at the break for Saif-Eddine Khaoui, as coach Kebaier looked to bring more experience into the midfield.

Mali forward Ibrahima Kone scored the only goal of the game on 48 minutes, successfully converting a penalty after Ellyes Skhiri was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball.

Khazri, who once scored against United for Sunderland, had the opportunity to equalise for Tunisia from the spot but was denied by an impressive Ibrahim Mounkoro save.

Mali’s El Bilal Toure was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge in the closing stages, but the Eagles held on for all three points in controversial fashion with the whistle being blown before time was up.


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