Soccer: Shimizu appoint Hiraoka as new manager after sacking Lotina

© Kyodo News

J-League first division side Shimizu S-Pulse announced the appointment of Hiroaki Hiraoka as their new manager on Thursday after sacking Miguel Angel Lotina following a disappointing run of results.

A former Shimizu defender, Hiraoka was promoted from coach to manager, while Shimizu terminated the contract of the 64-year-old Spaniard with the team under threat of relegation with four games remaining in the season.

S-Pulse are currently 16th in Japanese soccer's 20-team top flight, two points clear of the relegation zone with seven wins, 11 draws and 16 losses in 34 league games.

Hiraoka stepped in as interim manager toward the end of last season when Australian Peter Cklamovski left, but the Japanese could not prevent Shimizu from finishing with a J1 League-high 70 goals conceded.

Lotina took over at S-Pulse at the start of the current campaign, after two seasons as Cerezo Osaka manager.