Dinamo Zagreb sack coach after Champions League fiasco
ZAGREB (Reuters) -- Dinamo Zagreb sacked coach Krunoslav Jurcic after ending their Champions League campaign with a 7-1 home rout by French side Olympique Lyon on Wednesday, club officials said.
The result left Dinamo, who are on course to win their seventh successive Croatian league title, rooted to the bottom of Group D with no points from six games, having scored just three goals while they conceded 22.
"The board convened straight after the game and we decided to part company with Jurcic because this was an embarrassing end to our interest in Europe this season," the club's executive director Zdravko Mamic told Croatian media.
"We have to find a way to make it up to the fans. This is not cheap talk, we had long-term plans with Jurcic and we discussed the future at lunch this afternoon.
"It's a difficult defeat to stomach," added Mamic after the home team's players were jeered off the pitch by angry fans who turned up in freezing weather.
Dinamo were reduced to 10 men midway through the first half before 17-year old midfielder Mateo Kovacic fired them into a 40th-minute lead against Lyon, who needed an emphatic win to stay in the hunt for a berth in the last 16.
Having started the night three points behind Ajax Amsterdam who also had a vastly superior goal difference, Lyon produced just the avalanche of goals they needed after Bafetimbi Gomis levelled on the stroke of halftime.
With the other result going their way as Group D winners Real Madrid beat Ajax 3-0, the floodgates opened at the Maksimir stadium after the break as four-goal Gomis led the charge.
Jurcic acknowledged Dinamo were always going to struggle in the group stage of Europe's premier club competition.
"It's difficult to find an alibi after a 7-1 drubbing but reaching the group stage was deemed a huge success at the start of the season and I'd rather we tried to punch above our weight and learn than play in the Europa League," he said.
"We have all the makings of a young and inexperienced team which can't deal with difficult situations, when players get paralysed by adversity instead of fighting back."