Pumas fire coach Paco Palencia, announce temporary replacement

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The club has parted ways with its former attacker after six weeks of the tournament, making him the first coaching casualty of the Apertura

Pumas is making a change at the top, firing manager Francisco "Paco" Palencia after a 2-1 loss to Morelia, the club announced Wednesday.

"Paco, thanks for everything and good luck," the club's brief statement concluded.

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Argentine coach Sergio Egea, who had been overseeing the club's youth teams, will temporarily take on head coaching duties.

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After taking the job in May 2016, the young Mexican manager got Pumas to the playoffs in his first tournament. But the team finished 17th in the Clausura, just two points above last-place Puebla, and has lost four of its last five contests this tournament. Palencia is the first Liga MX coach to be fired this tournament in the league notorious for frequent turnover in the technical area.

Palencia oversaw a time of transition for the team, with long-time members center back Dario Veron, forward Matias Britos and goalkeeper Alejandro "Pikolin" Palacios among the players who left in the past year. Part of Palencia's idea was to integrate younger players from the academy into the first team, but he wasn't able to achieve enough success to continue on with the project.

Many Pumas fans have recently expressed hope that former coach Guillermo Vazquez will return to the club with Pumas legend and current commentator Hugo Sanchez also a potential candidate, though the latter has not coached full-time since 2012. Egea was Sanchez's assistant at Pumas in 2004.

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