Roberto Mancini sorry for walking off during Saudi Arabia's penalty shootout loss to South Korea

AP , Wednesday 31 Jan 2024

Saudi Arabia coach Roberto Mancini apologized for walking off before the end of his team's losing penalty shootout against South Korea.

Roberto Mancini
Saudi Arabia s Italian coach Roberto Mancini shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup football match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea at Education City Stadium in al-Rayyan, west of Doha, on January 30, 2024. AFP


The Italian turned and headed for the locker room before Hwang Hee-chan's winning spot kick on Tuesday sent South Korea to the quarterfinals in Qatar.

“I apologize for this because I thought it was finished," Mancini said. "I didn't want to (disrespect) anyone.

“I want to say thank you to all my players for what they did. They are improved a lot.”

Mancini, who won the European Championship as Italy coach in 2021, watched his team relinquish a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute of stoppage time when Cho Gue-sung headed in an equalizer.

With the score still level after extra time at Education City Stadium, South Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo went on to save penalties from Sami Al Naji and Abdulrahman Ghareeb.

“I am very sad because when you lose a penalty shootout, when you concede a goal in the last minute ... because I don't understand 10 minutes extra (stoppage) time,” Mancini said. “But I am happy because as a team we improved a lot, some players improved a lot, we worked one month together and this was really important. Now we are a team.”

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