Eric Bailly earns rave reviews after Ivory Coast performance before missing crucial penalty
Eric Bailly missed the crucial shootout penalty as Ivory Coast crashed out of the AFCON to Egypt.
The Manchester United defender saw his shot saved and was the only player to miss in the shootout after the last 16 tie went to spot kicks.
Bailly taking penalties does not happen very often, and sadly it was everything you would fear from the unpredictable defender.
The centre-back decided to take just a two-step run-up and his penalty lacked pace and was too predictable for the goalkeeper.
His chip-shot penalty could be termed ‘classic Bailly’ and the outcome ended proving critical for his team.
Bailly had actually played very well
Rather than dwell on Bailly’s penalty miss, the defender deserves credit for an excellent performance throughout the 90 minutes and injury time.
Bailly played wearing protective Petr Cech style headgear after sustaining an injury in his previous tournament match. He took it off for the shootout, and probably should have kept it on.
The United defender helped Ivory Coast secure a 0-0 draw, shutting down Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah over 120 minutes.
Even with his injury, Bailly won three aerial duels, and made a staggering 11 clearances, more than the rest of the Ivory Coast defence did combined (5).
Bailly also blocked four shots, the same as all of his teammates did combined. He also won three tackles and made three interceptions, and even created one goalscoring chance.
This was a defensive masterclass from Bailly, and he did not deserve for this game to end in the way it did.
The defender’s contribution during the game was praised by supporters, even if his penalty undid all of his good work.
What next for Bailly?
Bailly is now heading home to Manchester and could face an uncertain few days. There is likely to be extra speculation over his future.
AC Milan and Roma are both reported to be interested in the centre-back, Foot Mercato reports, although it is unclear if United are willing to consider letting him leave.
Bailly is fourth choice defender at United, but there is additional cover after Phil Jones returned to fitness, so it is theoretical he could be surplus to requirements, even if letting him leave could be unwise.
United supporters still have not seen what a partnership between Eric Bailly and Raphael Varane would look like, and it’s possible he is kept around with this potential in mind.
There is one extra impact from Bailly’s penalty miss, with Liverpool losing out. Egypt’s win keeps Mohamed Salah involved and delays his return from the tournament.
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