Palmeiras fire coach Vilar for second time this year

November 2, 2006

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Struggling Brazilian team Palmeiras fired coach Marcelo Vilar for the second time this year on Thursday.

Vilar, who had previously been sacked in May, was given his marching orders one day after his side slumped to a 3-1 home defeat against Goias.

Palmeiras, just above the relegation zone, said on their Web site that Jair Picerni had agreed to take over for the last seven games of the season and attempt to lead them to safety.

Vilar, who began the year as assistant coach, took over on an interim basis after Emerson Leao left the club in April.

After a good start, he was offered the job on a long-term basis in May only to be sacked two games later.

Tite replaced him and led the team up the standings, only to resign in September after being publicly criticised by a club director. Vilar was then reinstated.

Palmeiras, one of Brazil's biggest clubs, are 15th in the 20-team table with 37 points from 32 games. The bottom four go down.

Palmeiras, South American champions in 1999 under Luiz Felipe Scolari, have won the Brazilian championship four times.

Vilar was the 39th coaching victim of the season among Brazil's 20 first division clubs. Fluminense and Sao Caetano have had the highest turnover and are both on to their sixth coaches.