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Former Brazil coach Leao fired by Atletico Mineiro

Former Brazil coach Emerson Leao has been fired by Atletico Mineiro after his team lost to arch-rivals Cruzeiro in the final of a regional championship, ending his third stint at the club.

"In a meeting held late on Sunday night, club president Alexandre Kalil decided that Emerson Leao would relinquish command of the team," said the club on its website.

Leao, who coached Brazil in 2000-01 and was fired after a defeat to Australia at the Confederations Cup, had been in charge of the Belo Horizonte side since December. Celso Roth, recently sacked by Gremio, is expected to replace him.

Atletico and Cruzeiro drew 1-1 in Sunday's Minas Gerais championship final second leg but Cruzeiro had won the first match 5-0.

Atletico have failed to beat their bitter rivals in the last 12 meetings.

Leao, Brazil's goalkeeper at the 1974 and 1978 World Cups and reserve in 1970 and 1982, was sent off at halftime for running onto the field to protest to the referee, the latest in a long line of disciplinary problems which have marred his coaching career.

Leao is the 11th coaching victim at the country's 20 first division clubs since the season started in mid-January.

The season kicks off with regional tournaments and the Brazilian championship begins on Saturday.


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