Soccer: Relegation-threatened Gamba dismiss manager Katanosaka

Gamba Osaka announced the dismissal of manager Tomohiro Katanosaka on Wednesday following a run of poor results that has left the club near the bottom of the J-League first division.

The former Asian champions are 17th in the 18-team J1 and face the possibility of relegation after a 2-0 loss to Shimizu S-Pulse on Sunday.

Assistant manager Hiroshi Matsuda, who previously held the top job at second-division V-Varen Nagasaki, will replace Katanosaka.

A former Gamba assistant, the 51-year-old Katanosaka took the reins at Panasonic Stadium this year after achieving strong results with now J2 side Oita Trinita.

He steered the Kyushu club from the third division to the top flight before being relegated back to J2 last year.

He struggled at the helm for Gamba, however, winning just once in the past 11 games. They have won five, drawn seven and lost 12 of their 24 league games this season.

In a statement from the club, Katanosaka apologized to fans for Gamba's lack of success on the pitch.

"I hoped to make Gamba strong again this season, building up the players and celebrating many victories together," he said.

"Unfortunately, because of my own shortcomings, I was not able to meet your expectations and could only produce disappointing results.

© Kyodo News