SPORTS

Lemonis sacked by Olympiakos with just six rounds remaining in league

Confirming the rumors of recent days, Olympiakos yesterday announced its dismissal of coach Takis Lemonis, less than a week after overall excitement at the Piraeus club before its clash against Chelsea for a place in the Champions League’s quarterfinals which ended in failure. The decision was formally reached at a board meeting yesterday, during which the administration decided that action was necessary to reverse the team’s series of subdued performances. Besides Olympiakos’s 3-0 loss in London, following a scoreless draw in the first leg at Karaiskaki Stadium, the club has not impressed in the last few rounds of domestic play. Olympiakos, the defending league champion, lies second, a point behind Panathinaikos with six rounds remaining. «The team has to change something in order to present itself in a different fashion. In these cases, it is the coaches who are replaced,» said the club’s chief executive Petros Kokkalis, son of club owner and entrepreneur Socrates Kokkalis. There have been over 40 coaching hirings at the club since 1980. An ex-star player at Olympi-akos, Lemonis, whose contract was extended last season until 2009, was serving a second coaching tenure at Olympiakos. Despite the sacking, Olympiakos remains a contender for the league-and-cup double. Asked by reporters whether he believed Olympiakos was still capable of achieving this, Lemonis, following his sacking, noted: «Yes, I believe this is a good team. I also told the players this. I think that a very good team has been built for the next few years.» Lemonis will be replaced by his Spanish assistant Jose Segura, who is likely to lead the team for the season’s remainder. Also yesterday, relegation-threatened Veria fired its coach Yiannis Mantzourakis. He was the third coach to go at the club this season.