Zenit sack Mircea Lucescu after second straight UCL failure

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Zenit St. Petersburg have sacked coach Mircea Lucescu after the Russian team failed to qualify for the Champions League for the second straight year.

A brief club statement thanked the Romanian for his year in charge and said the board decided on "early termination" of his contract, without specifying why.

Lucescu arrived from Zenit after winning eight Ukrainian titles and the UEFA Cup with Shakhtar Donetsk, but he struggled in St. Petersburg amid reports of disagreements with key players.

Zenit finished third in the Russian Premier League behind Spartak Moscow and CSKA Moscow, missing out on the Champions League places by one point.