Former Portugal boss Paulo Bento has been sacked as coach of Chinese Super League club Chongqing Lifan after failing to improve the side’s fortunes since taking the reins in December.
“After friendly negotiations, the club and Mr. Paulo Bento have agreed: with immediate effect (he) will no longer serve as the head coach of Chongqing,” a team statement said.
Chongqing had finished last season in 10th place in the 16-team CSL and were looking to improve under Bento.
But they languish 12th in the table and Saturday’s 2-1 win at Tianjin Teda — only their fourth in 13 league matches this campaign — was not enough to save the Portuguese coach’s job.
Chinese teams have brought in a succession of foreign coaches, such as Italian Fabio Cannavaro at champions Guangzhou Evergrande and German Roger Schmidt at Beijing Guoan, but quick firings are not unusual in the win-now CSL.
Bento coached the Portuguese national team from 2010 to 2014, reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2012 where they lost to Spain on penalties.
At club level, he had four seasons in charge of Sporting Lisbon and brief spells at Cruzeiro in Brazil and Olympiakos in Greece.
A tough-tackling defensive midfielder during his playing career, Bento will be replaced by assistant coach Hao Haitao on an interim basis.
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