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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Porto sack coach Del Neri

European champions Porto fired new coach Luigi Del Neri on Saturday following his repeated absences from the club, news reports said. Del Neri had his contract rescinded at an early morning meeting with club officials in Porto, according to private TSF radio and the website of the A Bola sports newspaper.

Del Neri, formerly the coach at Italy's Serie A club Chievo Verona, was hired in June to replace Jose Mourinho, who left to become manager at west London club Chelsea. Porto officials were irritated by Del Neri's absences, A Bola and TSF said. He took two days off this week and was not at Friday's training session alleging he had missed flight connections while returning to Portugal.

Players and officials also were unhappy with his handling of the team, A Bola and TSF said. They did not mention a replacement. A club spokesman was not immediately available to comment. Porto won the Champions League final in May with a 3-0 victory over Monaco and are defending Portuguese League champions.

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