Tony Popovic axed by Greek club Xanthi

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Former Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has been sacked by Greek second division club just nine matches into his tenure.

Despite Xanthi’s 2-1 weekend win over cellar dwellers OF Ierapetra, which left them in fifth spot on the ladder — four points off the top — Popovic was given his marching orders.

Xanthi owner, Greek-Australian businessman Bill Papas, said: “I want to thank Tony for the excellent work he has offered to the team since September 2020 when he took office.

“With great sadness and respect for Tony, we announce the end of our partnership.

“I wish Tony and his family all the best for the future.”

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Popovic’s axing comes three weeks after the club’s goalkeeper coach, former Socceroos gloveman Zeljko Kalac, parted ways with Xanthi.

Xanthi’s squad includes Popovic’s sons Kristian and Gabriel, former Sydney FC and Melbourne City midfielder Josh Brillante, ex-Adelaide United goalkeeper Paul Izzo, former Western Sydney defender Matt Jurman and New Zealand under 20 international Callan Elliot.

It’s the second time Popovic has been sacked by a European club after being shown the door by Turkish outfit Karabükspor in 2017 after just nine games at the helm.

Popovic’s latest sacking comes less than three months after another Australian coach, Kevin Muscat, was axed by Belgian club Sint-Truiden after only 14 games in charge.

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