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Africa Cup of Nations

Manchester United’s Bailly cried after penalty miss led to Ivory Coast's Afcon exit

20:33 EAT 27/01/2022
Eric Bailly - Ivory Coast
The centre-back’s effort was saved in Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out and it eventually ended the Elephants’ quest in Cameroon

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly was crying after he missed a penalty in Ivory Coast’s defeat to Egypt at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, according to coach Patrice Beaumelle.

The Elephants lost 5-4 on penalties after holding their North African opponents to a goalless draw at the end of extra-time on Wednesday.

After putting in a solid defensive performance, Bailly stepped forward to take the third spot-kick but it was saved by goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal.

It was the only miss recorded in the shoot-out and it brought an end to Ivory Coast’s dreams of winning a third Afcon title, in Cameroon.

The result left Beaumelle’s men in disappointment and the French coach has described how he is encouraging the 27-year-old.

"He was crying and it was very hard," Beaumelle told BBC Sport Africa. "I hugged him and I just said 'You are a big champion'.

"What he has done during the competition, he has shown that he is a big champion. All the big champions miss penalties, I have so many examples.

"I think the goalkeeper did well. He saved two or three chances in extra-time and saved the penalty from Eric.

"You know, when you lose on penalties you have nothing else to say. I am very sad for the boys because my feeling was we could go very far in this competition."

Ivory Coast finished as Group E leaders with seven points after three matches, ahead of Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Algeria.

The Elephants will hope to bounce back from the Afcon disappointment when they face England in an international friendly match on March 29.