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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 February 2006, 10:42 GMT
Michel rues missed chances
The Ivory Coast coach Henri Michel
Henri Michel lead the Ivory Coast to the final of the Nations Cup

The Ivory Coast's coach Henri Michel says missed chances cost his team the African Cup of Nations.

The Frenchman was also upset with a penalty awarded to Egypt, a decision he branded as scandalous.

The Pharaohs won a record fifth African title in a penalty shootout after the match finished 0-0 following extra-time at the Cairo International Stadium.

Michel, whose captain Didier Drogba missed a great chance to win the game in the 79th minute, said: "I am proud of my team because of everything they've done here.

"We can have a few regrets, though, because we had some clear chances in the second half and, at that stage, the Egyptians were, physically, dead and I think if we'd scored the match would have been over."

As for the shootout, which followed the Ivorians' quarter-final win over Cameroon on penalties, he said: "One day things go your way, another they don't.

"But the thing we have to take away from this is the good run we've had at this tournament with this team...and it's just a shame we didn't win it.

"We went close but when you don't take your chances you get punished."

However, the Frenchman was furious at a dubious penalty awarded to Egypt in extra time but missed by captain Ahmed Hassan.

"It's a fraud," he said, also recalling a clear penalty denied to Senegal in their semi-final defeat by the host nation.

"You've got to tell things how they are. It was robbery against Senegal and it's robbery here too.

"The only thing is that they (Egypt) were unlucky and he missed. It's a scandal."

Defender Kolo Toure, outstanding all tournament at the heart of the Ivorian defence, said their stay in Egypt would help them later this year in Germany at the World Cup.

"We played a good football match tonight and I think Egypt was lucky to win," he said.

"With penalties, you have to have some luck and we weren't lucky today. That's the way football goes.

"We lost, but for me the most important thing is that we've got a really young team and we just want to improve.

"We went to the final this time and in two years' time (in Ghana) we hope we are going to win it.

"This was our first tournament together and it's going to help us play good football at the World Cup, definitely."


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