Roberto Mancini apologises for walking off during Saudi Arabia vs South Korea penalty shootout


Roberto Mancini has apologised for his early departure during Saudi Arabia’s penalty shootout defeat to South Korea on Wednesday.

The Saudi Arabia manager left the pitch at the Education City Stadium and headed for the tunnel before the conclusion of the last-16 tie in the Asia Cup, which his side lost 4-2 on penalties.

Mancini, who has also previously managed Manchester City and the Italy national team, posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) to “reiterate his apology” for the early exit.

“Again I reiterate my apology to everyone of my early exit to the dressing room before the end of the penalty shootout,” the 59-year-old said.

“With your support and trust we continue to build for the future of Saudi football.

“I’m really thankful to our brave players who showed resilience and character in a very tough game, they gave everything. Huge thanks to our fans who made an amazing atmosphere yesterday. We worked hard to go very far in this tournament but fell short.”

Saudi Arabia had taken a 1-0 lead in the round-of-16 match, before conceding a late second-half equaliser and eventually being taken to a penalty shootout. Hwang Hee-chan scored the decisive penalty to put South Korea into the quarter-finals.

Mancini signed a four-year contract with the Saudi Arabian national team in August last year. In his previous role as Italy manager, he guided his native nation to victory at Euro 2020 but failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar 18 months later.

GO DEEPER

Roberto Mancini and the defection to Saudi Arabia that has left Italy embittered

(Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)





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