Ricardo Sá Pinto, manager of Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon has been shown the door and Jaime Pacheco, manager of Beijing Guoan is one of three coaches in the frame to replace him. Sporting Club Portugal, commonly known as Sporting Lisbon, let ‘Ricardo the Lion Heart’ leave after a bad run of results. A club legend with over 170 appearances, Pinto was relieved of his job following a 3-0 loss ten days ago to Videoton F.C. with just three wins in ten games.
Pacheco, known by the Beijing fans as Old Pa, has 39 appearances as a player for Sporting Lisbon and such a move could tempt him to make a move back home. His previous managerial spells in charge of Boavista and Vitória de Guimarães before joining Beiing make him an immediate front-runner with Oceano da Cruz in temporary charge of the Portuguese side.
Guoan have been quick to issue a statement regarding the rumors; ‘We have not received any calls from other clubs about Jaime Pacheco. Pacheco still has one year left on his contract and it is important to focus on the last three games of the season and then see what happens.’ With just one year on his contract, would Beijing desire a change of manager it would save them a significant compensation fee.
Pacheco has been on thin ice at some points in the season, with Beijing Guoan not keeping up with Jiangsu Sainty and Guangzhou Evergrande. New competition in the forms of Guangzhou R&F, Shanghai Shenhua and Dalian Aerbin could see the CSL next season be far more competitive and the tactics of Pacheco have come under scrutiny throughout the current campaign that has only three remaining games.
Those three games are hugely important to Guoan, with places for the Asia Champions League still up for grabs starting with the potentially easy game away at Qingdao Jonoon, a team they last beat 6-0. Then the Imperial Guards face the top two away at Jiangsu Sainty and a final home game against Guangzhou Evergrande, matches that could have a huge bearing on Pacheco’s future regardless of the Sporting link.
In other news from that side of the world, Andrija Kaluđerović, on loan from Guoan at Racing Santander is proving a massive hit. After just two goals in 11 games in China, the Serbian has bagged three in his first six already in the Spanish second tier.s