Flamengo sack misfiring Guardiola lieutenant Torrent

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Domenec Torrent won a host of trophies alongside Pep Guardiola
Domenec Torrent won a host of trophies alongside Pep Guardiola

Reigning Brazilian and South American champions Flamengo said Monday they had sacked coach Domenec Torrent, after the long-time assistant to Pep Guardiola capped a lukewarm start with two humiliating defeats in a row.

"Domenec Torrent and his coaching staff are no longer managing the club's first team," Flamengo announced on Twitter.

Torrent, 58, was hired in July to replace Jorge Jesus, who led Flamengo to five titles in just over a year -- including the 2019 Copa Libertadores -- before stepping down to coach Benfica in his native Portugal.

After a rocky start, Torrent managed to navigate Flamengo to third place in the Brazilian first division, one point shy of leaders Internacional, and into the round of 16 in the Libertadores.

But fans have criticized the Spaniard's less aggressive style, and he has racked up a series of stinging defeats: 5-0 against Ecuador's Independiente del Valle in the Libertadores group phase, 4-1 against Sao Paulo earlier this month and 4-0 against Atletico Mineiro Sunday.

He also presided over an outbreak of Covid-19 on the team, with 19 players and 17 staff, including Torrent himself, testing positive for the new coronavirus in September.

Flamengo's under-20 coach, Mauricio Souza, will take over from Torrent on an interim basis.

Brazilian media tipped former national team goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni to replace him.

Ceni, who played on Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning team and holds the world record for goals scored by a keeper (131), currently coaches 11th-place Fortaleza.

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