United youngsters react to Hannibal post following Arab Cup final defeat

Manchester United wonderkid Hannibal Mejbri couldn’t inspire his Tunisia side to victory in the 2021 Arab Cup final against Algeria.

In the biggest game of his burgeoning career so far, the 18-year-old wore the number 10 shirt for the Tunisians, as they lost 2-0 in extra time.

Hannibal was substituted in the 88th minute, to a huge ovation, with the final heading for another 30 minutes of action.

But the midfielder will head back to Manchester with a runners-up medal and the valuable experience of playing in a major international tournament to his name.

Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

Algeria took the lead in the 99th minute through a stunning Amir Sayoud strike, before former Porto man Yacine Brahimi raced from the halfway line to slot the ball into an empty with the other 21 players behind him, following a last-gasp Tunisia corner, in the 125th minute.

The game was played in an booming atmosphere at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor City, where the opening fixture of next year’s 2022 Qatar World Cup finals will be held.

The United youngster almost won his side a penalty when he was brought down by Ilyes Cheti after moving the ball away from him inside the area.

However, following a VAR check, the Algeria defender breathed a sigh of relief as the decision went in his favour.

Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

With emotions running high and tempers flaring, towards the end of the first half, a scuffle between several players, during which Hannibal was grabbed by the throat, resulted in a number of yellow cards being handed out by German referee Daniel Siebert.

Hannibal started all six games in the tournament for Tunisia, but he will now return to Manchester ahead of his potential inclusion in January’s African Cup of Nations.

Tunisia have qualified for the tournament, which is due to be held in Cameroon from 9 January to 6 February 2022, although there have been some question marks raised as to whether the major international tournament will go ahead.

Hannibal posted on Instagram following the final, which read: “A big thank you for your encouragement today we lost this final but we have regained the confidence of the Tunisian people, let’s rise together to go for this CAN united and stronger. Thanks again to the public.”

Several of Hannibal’s Manchester United academy team mates have shown their support for the club’s talented Tunisian.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.