Ailing Argentine giants
San Lorenzo have named noted football rescue worker Ricardo Caruso
Lombardi as their coach in a desperate bid to avoid the flames
of relegation for a second time.
"San Lorenzo de Almagro have a new coach. The club agreed
this afternoon to hire Ricardo Daniel Caruso Lombardi and he
will take charge of the professional squad on Wednesday," they
said on their website on Tuesday.
The 10-times champions, nicknamed the Saints, Crows or
Cyclone, are in the bottom four of the relegation standings,
which are calculated on points averages over three seasons.
These are separate from the championship table in which San
Lorenzo are 17th with eight points from eight matches.
San Lorenzo, one of Argentina's so-called Big Five clubs,
face a play-off against one of the top four teams in the Primera
B Nacional, the second division, in June. If they drop into the
bottom two they will automatically go down, as they did in 1981.
"I think the main thing is to make your players heroes, take
the pressure off them," the stocky, quick-talking 50-year-old,
who sports a goatee, told Fox Sports.
It will be his second stint at one of the 'Big Five' having
successfully avoided relegation in 2009 at Racing Club, his
rivals in his first match in charge on Sunday and also
struggling for form.
To take the job, Caruso Lombardi is leaving second division
Quilmes whom he joined 13 months ago in serious relegation
danger. He failed to steer them clear of the drop but now leaves
them among the favourites for promotion back to the top flight.
Caruso Lombardi follows former San Lorenzo midfielder
Leonardo Madelon into the job, having done the same at Quilmes
in March 2011.
Madelon resigned after Sunday's game against Velez
Sarsfield behind closed doors after their Nuevo Gasometro
stadium was suspended for crowd violence.
San Lorenzo are in desperate need of unity with divisions in
the board and the squad, and beset by incidents of violence in
and around their ground which is adjacent to a notorious shanty
Captain Jonathan Bottinelli was hit by a barrabrava
hard-core fan during an argument after training in October and a
junior player was stabbed in the stomach by young fan in
In the latest incident two weekends ago, for which
supporters were banned from Sunday's match, fans tried to storm
the match officials' changing room angry that referee Diego Abal
allowed visiting Colon's controversial equaliser in a 1-1 draw,
a decision he admitted the following day had been a mistake.
Caruso Lombardi spent more than a decade coaching in the
lower divisions of the Argentine league before taking charge of
first division Argentinos Juniors in 2007. He has also coached
Newell's Old Boys and Tigre.
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