Selangor's Zainal sacked as coach, K. Gunalan takes over as caretaker

Zainal Abidin Hassan has been sacked by Selangor, just six months into the season, making him the eighth coaching casualty of the 2016 Malaysia Super League.

The 54-year-old has been shown the door in the wake of the Red Giants' fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions, losing 1-0 at Kedah on Saturday.

Assistant coach K. Gunalan will serve as interim coach until the FA of Selangor can find a permanent replacement.

"Zainal's contract with Selangor has been terminated and Gunalan will take over as interim coach," said team manager Amirudin Shari told the New Straits Times.

Selangor are still third on the MSL table but 17 points behind leaders Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) and struggling in the defence of their 2015 Malaysia Cup title.

Zainal's exit will add to speculation that Australia's Mehmet Durakovic, whose contract was prematurely terminated at the end of last year, will return to the Shah Alam hot seat.

Durakovic led the Red Giants to the 2015 Malaysia Cup -- their record 33rd title -- last December after securing a second place finish in the MSL.

Zainal joins Mike Mulvey and Ahmad Yusof (Terengganu), Ahmad Shahruddin Rosdi (Pahang), Jacksen Tiago (Penang), K. Rajagobal (Sarawak), K. Devan (Kelantan) and Syamsul Saad (Perak) as coaches who were rested or sacked this season.

Selangor will play Zainal's former team Pahang in the Malaysia Cup on Tuesday. They travel to face Kelantan three days later in the same competition.