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Saudi Football Federation president criticizes Mancini's early exit in Asian Cup defeat

Posted : 31 January 2024

The president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Yasser Al-Misehal, expressed strong dissatisfaction with Roberto Mancini's premature departure before the conclusion of the penalty shootout that resulted in Saudi Arabia's exit from the Asian Cup.


Mancini, the Italian coach, left before South Korea's Hwang Hee-chan secured their victory with the decisive penalty. Despite apologizing and explaining that he thought the match was over, Mancini's actions were labeled "completely unacceptable" by Al-Misehal. The Saudi Football Federation president stated that they would discuss the matter with Mancini and decide on appropriate actions, emphasizing the coach's right to explain his perspective.


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The Asian Cup last-16 clash between Saudi Arabia and South Korea ended in a 1-1 draw, with South Korea emerging victorious 4-2 in the penalty shootout. Following Italy's European Championship triumph in 2021, Mancini took charge of the Saudi national team in August 2022, signing a deal until 2027, which extends beyond the next World Cup.


Despite the reported $25 million offer to Mancini to lead the Saudi team and the disappointment of not securing a fourth continental crown for Saudi Arabia, Mancini's position does not appear to be immediately at risk. Al-Misehal expressed technical satisfaction with Saudi Arabia's performance in the Asian Cup, and he conveyed a cautious approach, stating that he does not like to rush into decisions.


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