Thailand fires coach Rajevac after Asian Cup loss to India

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              Thailand's head coach Milovan Rajevac reacts during the AFC Asian Cup group A soccer match between Thailand and India at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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BANGKOK (AP) — The Football Association of Thailand has fired Milovan Rajevac as head coach after the national team’s 4-1 opening loss to India at the Asian Cup.

Thai FA president Somyot Poompanmoung had warned ahead of the continental tournament that Rajevac’s job was on the line if he couldn’t take the team to the second round.

He announced the decision to fire Rajevac after Sunday’s game in Abu Dhabi, despite Thailand still having group games against Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to play.

In a statement released early Monday he says, “It was not the playing format that Thai FA and the team supporters desired. I hereby announce the suspension of the contract with Milovan Rajevac as the coach of Thailand’s national team.”

Assistant Sirisak Yodyathai will take over as interim head coach for the tournament.

Rajevac was hired as the Thailand head coach in April 2017 to replace Kiatsisak Senamuang and had been under increasing pressure since Thailand failed to defend the AFF Cup title last month, losing to Malaysia in the semifinals on away goal rules.

The 65-year-old Serbian was voted the African confederation’s coach of the year in 2010 after guiding Ghana to the World Cup quarterfinals.