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 By Paul Murphy

Leonardo Vitorino exits Cambodia as national coach after Vietnam loss

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The Cambodian national team have parted company with head coach Leonardo Vitorino, with the Brazilian having spent just seven months in the job.

Vitorino announced his departure via social media, a week after a 5-0 defeat in Vietnam ended Cambodian hopes of qualifying for the Asian Cup in 2019.

"I'm not more Cambodia National Team Head Coach," Vitorino posted on Facebook. "Thank you Cambodia Supporters for this great time here.

"Sorry for not being able to change some things. I wish all the best to Cambodia Football Federation and thank you to the opportunity to lead this Nation."

The 43-year-old had previously managed Lanexang United in Laos before the club's financial problems ended his stint, while he had also worked as technical director with Buriram United in Thailand.

Vitorino took over Cambodia in March, and at the time, he said, "Now, I am not Brazilian. I am Cambodian. I live in Cambodia. I live 24 hours in Cambodia. I give my heart for Cambodia. I give my best for Cambodia."

After a narrow defeat to India in a friendly, his first competitive fixture ended in a dismal 7-0 thrashing in Jordan in Asian Cup qualifying Group C.

But June's 1-0 home win over Afghanistan reignited hopes of a strong campaign, and only a late goal from Vietnam gave them a 2-1 victory in Cambodia in September.

While these two results suggested things may be on the right track, last week's 5-0 thrashing at the hands of their neighbours seemingly brought an end to Vitorino's tenure, with two qualifiers still to play.

It is now unclear who will be in charge when Cambodia host Myanmar in a friendly next month, followed by the penultimate Group C tie at home to Jordan.

Paul Murphy has lived in Thailand for nine years, contributing to ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express (UK) sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK

 

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