Saudi Arabia Coach Roberto Mancini Walks Off before the End of Penalty Shootout at the Asian Cup

AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
Saudi Arabia’s head coach Roberto Mancini sits in his team dugout prior to the Asian Cup round of 16 soccer match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea at Education City Stadium Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024.

AL-RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Saudi Arabia coach Roberto Mancini walked off before the end of his team’s losing penalty shootout against South Korea in the Asian Cup on Tuesday.

The Italian had seen his team dramatically relinquish a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute of stoppage time at Education City Stadium, to force extra time, and then miss two spot kicks in the shootout.

Mancini turned and headed to the locker room without watching Hwang Hee-chan convert the decisive kick that saw South Korea advance to the quarterfinals 4-2 on penalties and set up a clash with Australia on Friday.

“When you lose a penalty (shootout) you are sad because it is difficult, but this is football,” Mancini said. “We have to accept this. I am very happy with my players because they played a very good game against one of the best teams in the world.”

Saudi Arabia had led the round-of-16 match through Abdullah Radif’s goal in the 46th. But Cho Gue-sung sent the game into extra time with a late header.

In the shootout South Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo saved penalties from Sami Al Naji and Abdulrahman Ghareeb.

Mancini was aiming to win his second major international title as a coach after leading Italy to triumph in the European Championship in 2021.

Fellow European soccer great Jurgen Klinsmann is coach of South Korea and could add the Asian Cup to the CONCACAF Gold Cup he won with the U.S. in 2013.