Posted by: mdegeorge | November 20, 2010

Pack up your things: Spanish soccer coach fired immediately after 8-0 loss

What does an 8-0 defeat against Barcelona get you?

If you’re Almeria coach Juan Manuel Lillo, it gets you fired before most of your team has showered, changed, and had their post-game meal.

That was the case today in Spain when Barca traveled to Spain’s Mediterranean coast to batter the struggling La Liga squad to the tune of eight goals.

Almeria's goalkeeper Diego Alves looks at the ball after trying to save against Barcelona during their Spanish first division soccer match at Juegos Mediterraneos stadium in Almeria, November 20, 2010. REUTERS/Francisco Bonilla (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Lionel Messi had two goals before halftime to complement strikes by Pedro, Andres Iniesta, and an own goal from Santiago Acasiete to set a 5-0 margin at the interval. Messi completed the hat trick after the break, sandwiched between two goals by substitute Bojan Krkic.

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, who is friends with Lillo, looked contrite by all accounts at halftime when he withdrew his all-world midfielders Xavi and Iniesta for the more defensive-minded Seydou Keita and Thiago.

Reports had circulated before the game that Lillo could get the gate if he failed to produce something special against Barcelona. The sensational fashion in which Almeria was dispatched surely hastened the process along.

Lillo, the youngest ever manager in La Liga history when he took over Salamanca in 1992 short of his 30th birthday, assumed control of 16th place Almeria last December and steered the Andalusians to a 13th place finish.

They have won only once in 12 league matches, drawing nine points in that time. They currently sit 18th in the league, one point from safety behind a host of teams with a match in hand. They have advanced to the Round of 16 in the Copa del Rey with a fixture set with Mallorca in January.

I still have to rank Joe Bugel’s firing from the 1977 St. Louis football Cardinals—when they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Redskins and returned to their offices to find the locks changed and pink slips waiting—ahead of this dismissal, but it easily enters the top 10.

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