Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Sevilla sack coach after seventh game without victory

REUTERS AND AP , MADRID

Sevilla’s coach Manuel Jimenez reacts during their Spanish First Division soccer match against Xerez at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on Tuesday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Sevilla have sacked coach Manolo Jimenez after the struggling La Liga club were held to a 1-1 draw at home by basement dwellers Xerez on Tuesday.

King’s Cup finalists Sevilla suffered a surprise Champions League exit to CSKA Moscow last week and Tuesday’s draw with promoted Xerez meant they had failed to win in seven matches in all competitions.

In Jimenez’s final game, Xerez scored in injury time to bring the game to a draw, preventing Sevilla from climbing back into the top four of the Spanish league.

On the Sevilla side, Mali’s Frederic Kanoute went on for injured midfielder Didier Zokora late in the first half and scored from the ­penalty spot after Sidi Keita brought Adriano down in the area in the 62nd minute at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Leandro Gioda equalized in the dying seconds after a throw-in unsettled the hosts’ defense.

Sevilla struggled to impose itself on relegation candidate Xerez. Diego Perotti was the hosts’ main threat in the opening stages and Koffi Romaric nearly scored in the eighth when his flick on from the winger’s cross went just over the bar.

Xerez responded when Jeronimo “Momo” Figueroa sent a shot from wide on the right skimming across the goalmouth.

Perotti pulled up clutching his thigh midway through the first half and was replaced by Jose Carlos Fernandez. The change was a major blow for Sevilla, and follows an ankle injury to its other first-choice winger, Jesus Navas, who was already ruled out for up to a month.

Without its usual bite on the flanks, Sevilla struggled to make chances. The lively Adriano created a rare opportunity in the 36th when he burst out of midfield and sent a shot curling past the right-hand post.

Alvaro Negredo should have done better just before halftime when he blasted Adriano’s pass high.

Sevilla remained vulnerable at the back and a defensive error allowed Xerez’s Mario Bermejo to steal the ball and dribble past ­goalkeeper Andres Palop, although his shot went wide.

Following the match, Sevilla FC’s board dismissed Jimenez, the club said on their Web site.

The Andalusians are fifth in the standings on 45 points, one behind Real Mallorca, who occupy Spain’s fourth Champions League qualification spot and played at Racing Santander yesterday. Xerez remains at the bottom on 19 points.

Sevilla’s squad boasts one of the strongest attacking lineups in Spain, including Kanoute and Brazilian Luis Fabiano.

They had hoped to be challenging for the La Liga title and make at least the last eight of the Champions League this season.

Earlier in the day, Diego Castro’s injury-time penalty gave Sporting Gijon a 2-1 win against Deportivo La Coruna, which ended the game with nine men.

La Coruna was seventh on 42 points and Gijon was 10th on 35 points, with eight midweek league games yet to be played.

At Gijon’s El Molinon, Adrian Lopez equalized in the 65th when he ran on to a long pass and shot first time past goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas.

La Coruna’s Alberto Lopo was sent off in injury time for a challenge on Enrique Mateo in the area and Diego Castro converted the spot kick.

In the 11th minute, goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia was sent off for bringing Bilic down with a late challenge on the edge of the area.

La Coruna coach Miguel Angel Lotina immediately took striker Rodolfo Bodipo off to make room for replacement goalkeeper, Manuel Fernandez.

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