Al Ettifaq fires former Iran coach Branko Ivankovic

The Croatian manager had only been at the club for one season but after finishing fourth in the league, failing in the ACL and struggling in the King's Cup, he's been axed
Former Iran national team coach Branko Ivankovic has been sacked by Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq after finishing the 2011-12 Pro League season in fourth.

The 58-year-old Croatian, who joined Al Ettifaq on a one-year last July, has been axed immediately despite the club currently leading their group in the second tier AFC Cup which they are competing in after failing in the Asian Champions League qualifiers earlier this year.

The decision comes in the wake of Sunday's 2-1 King's Cup home loss to Al Fateh in their quarter-final first leg.

Sameer Hilal has been appointed as the Dammam club's caretaker manager.

“All of us know I don’t have a magic wand, but I am familiar with this club and I know the players and they know me," Hilal told reporters.

"I know them from a very long time ago and I know they have the winning mentality, I will work hard to bring the best out of them.”

Ivankovic joined Al Ettifaq from Chinese club Shandong Luneng and has had previous spells at Dinamo Zagreg, Hannover and as an assistant for the Croatian national team.

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