Johor Darul Ta'zim parted ways with their Argentine coach Mario Gomez on Wednesday, just two days before the Malaysia Super League champions face Kedah in the Charity Shield in the 2017 season opener.
No reason was given for the silver-haired coach's departure, announced via the club's Southern Tigers Facebook page.
"I would like to announce that JDT and Mario Gomez have mutually agreed to embark on separate paths," JDT president Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim said via a statement.
"This decision was derived for the betterment of the club, as the philosophy and direction of the club is paramount to anything else.
"Nonetheless, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my greatest appreciation to the legendary coach for his tremendous contribution to the club."
Gomez's exit comes as a shock, especially after he had overseen the Southern Tigers' preseason friendlies in Thailand.
JDT drew 1-1 against Chonburi FC in their first game before falling to successive 1-0 losses against Air Force Central and Buriram United.
Gomez will, however, leave the Southern Tigers with his head held high after leading them to five trophies since coming on board in 2015.
After taking over from Bojan Hodak in April 2015, the Argentine led JDT to their second MSL title that year. He finished that campaign by lifting the continental AFC Cup after they beat Tajikistan's FC Istiklol 1-0 in the final.
Gomez really flourished with his star-studded outfit in 2016, as he inspired them to the Charity Shield, a maiden FA Cup title while finishing the season as three-time MSL champions.
Assistant coach Raul Longhi could take over for the match against Kedah on Friday, in front of a capacity crowd at Larkin Stadium.
All 30,000 tickets for the MSL season opener have been sold out for a match where the home side are favourites to win for the third time.