Fonseca sacked by Porto
© AFP

Reigning Portuguese champions Porto have sacked coach Paulo Fonseca following a poor run of form.

Third-placed Porto's 2-2 draw at Guimaraes on Sunday saw them drop to nine points behind leaders and bitter rivals Benfica. They have won only three of their last seven league matches, picking up nine points less than Benfica during that period.

Fonseca, 41, will be replaced by the club's B team coach, Luis Castro, until a new full-time coach can be found, the club said in a statement to the stock exchange. According to media reports, Fonseca had asked to leave the club several times only to be refused by president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa.

He only joined Porto at the beginning of this season having led unfashionable Pacos de Ferreira to third place last season and a spot in the Champions League play-off round. However, he failed to guide Porto into the UEFA Champions League knock-out rounds this season and their mediocre league form has now cost him his job.

Porto are not used to finishing second, let alone third, having won nine of the last 11 domestic titles, including the last three in a row.