January 4, 2018 / 12:44 PM / in 4 months

Soccer: Torino sack coach Mihajlovic after Juventus defeat

MILAN (Reuters) - Torino sacked coach Sinisa Mihajlovic on Thursday, one day after he was sent off for dissent in a 2-0 Coppa Italia defeat against neighbours Juventus.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Torino vs Napoli - Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Turin, Italy - December 16, 2017 Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic before the match REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

The Serbian-born coach, who as a player was regarded as one of the game’s best-ever free kick specialists, had been in charge at the club for 18 months.

Torino, who have drawn 10 of their 19 league games this season, are 10th in Serie A and did not give any reasons for the unexpected decision.

“Torino announce the release of Sinisa Mihajlovic from his post of first-team coach,” said a brief statement. “We thank Sinisa and his staff for the effort and passion he has shown in these 18 months.”

There was no immediate comment from Mihajlovic himself.

Italian media said that the 48-year-old had been told of the decision in the early hours of the morning and that a group of players had visited him to tell him that they stood behind him.

Local media also reported that former Napoli, Inter Milan and Watford coach Walter Mazzarri was expected to be named as his replacement.

Torino was the sixth Serie A club of Mihajlovic’s coaching career after Bologna, Catania, Fiorentina, Sampdoria and AC Milan, where he lasted less than one full season. He has also coached the Serbian national team.

Mihajlovic was sent off midway through the second half of Wednesdsay’s game after protesting angrily at the referee’s decision to award Juventus’ second goal, a decision that the official stood by after studying the video replay system (VAR).

Torino claimed that midfielder Afriyie Acquah was fouled in the buildup to the goal.

Mihajlovic has mellowed in the last few years although still shows flashes of the fiery temper for which he used to be known.

In August, he pushed his assistants and remonstrated furiously in a fit of rage after they ordered the substitution of the wrong player in a Serie A match. Mihajlovic later apologised for his behaviour.

Torino are the eighth Serie A club to switch coach this season after Cagliari, Benevento, Genoa, AC Milan, Sassuolo, Crotone and Udinese.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern, editing by Pritha Sarkar, William Maclean

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