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African All Stars

Ivory Coast and Crystal Palace’s Zaha missed England friendly owing to grade one or two injury – Beaumelle

8:47 AM WAT 30/03/2022
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The Elephants manager reveals why the Ivorian star was missing in action as they suffered defeat against the Three Lions

Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle has explained his decision not to play Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha in their 3-0 friendly defeat against England on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old watched from the stands as the Three Lions scored through Ollie Watkins in the 30th minute, Raheem Sterling in the 45th minute, and Tyrone Mings in the stoppages to condemn the Elephants at Wembley.

In the absence of Zaha, Beaumelle deployed Sebastien Haller as the lone striker assisted by wingers Maxwel Cornet and Nicolas Pepe. Speaking after the friendly, Beaumelle explained his decision to leave Zaha out of the game.

“After the first game [against France] he felt some pain behind in the hamstring. Because we flew the following day after France and because he is [plays] here it was easier for him to get an X-ray [here],” Beaumelle said as quoted by Daily Mail.

“He had a grade one or two injury and because of the schedule of Crystal Palace, I understand the busy schedule, we don't have to take any risks because if it gets worse it is maybe six weeks or two months out.

“For me, he should have played this game for him. It was a dream to play against England, playing in Wembley, London. This is football.”

Beaumelle could, however, not reveal how long the player will miss action.

“We will see [how long he is out] with Crystal Palace. Today [Tuesday] I released him to go and have some care with his club. I asked him to [then] come with the team. He was so sad because he wanted to play but, for me, a grade two is an injury,” Beaumelle continued.

“Imagine we put him in and after five minutes … for what? And it was an opportunity for other players to play as a team but of course, I would have liked him to play with the Elephants.”

Zaha has been one of the key figures for manager Patrick Vieira at Selhurst Park and he has managed nine goals in the Premier League from 24 appearances so far this season.

His injury will be a blow to Vieira as they are scheduled to host Arsenal on Monday, visit Leicester City at King Power Stadium on April 10 before their FA Cup semi-final clash against Chelsea at Wembley on April 17.