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Old-school maestro Petrovic resigns as CSKA coach

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SOFIA (Reuters) – European Cup-winning coach Ljupko Petrovic has resigned as CSKA Sofia manager only two and a half months into the job after a poor run of results, the 31-times Bulgarian champions said on Wednesday.

Title hopefuls CSKA, one of the two most popular clubs in the Balkan country, have won five out of 11 league matches this season and failed to progress to the group stages of the Europa League.

The Reds are fourth in the 14-team domestic standings with 19 points, eight behind leaders Ludogorets and seven behind bitter city rivals Levski.

“After meeting the club owners, he (Petrovic) declared his intention to leave the post, accepting his responsibility for the team performance,” CSKA said in a statement, adding that the club unsuccessfully attempted to persuade him to stay.

At the age of 72, the much-travelled Serb, who guided Red Star Belgrade to the European Cup in 1991, is one of oldest coaches in European football.

He was criticised by some fans and media for using old-school methods and leaving key figures, including captain Nikolay Bodurov, out of the squad for what he described as “bad influence in the dressing room”.

Petrovic, who has coached more than a dozen of clubs in Serbia, Spain, Uruguay, Greece, Austria, China, Croatia, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Rwanda, led Levski to the title in the Bulgarian top flight in 2001.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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