Omiya axe manager Verdenik
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J.League side Omiya Ardija have sacked coach Zdenko Verdenik after a run of five defeats saw them slip from top spot to fourth place in the first division table.

The former Slovenian national team manager led Omiya, who have never finished in the top half of the 18-team league, to a new J.League record of 21 unbeaten matches earlier this season.

That included a run of seven straight victories to send the Saitama side to the league's top spot in April.

But they have now dropped back into fourth, six points behind leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima, with the latest setback a 3-0 home loss to Cerezo Osaka on Saturday.

Omiya general manager Takeyuki Okamoto will take over as caretaker until a new manager has been appointed, the club said in a statement issued on Sunday.

Verdenik joined Omiya in June 2012. The 64-year-old Slovenian has coached several J.League clubs including Nagoya Grampus and Vegalta Sendai, as well as FK Austria Wien and Slovenia's Olimpija Ljubljana.