Saudi Arabia's coach Jose Peseiro of Portugal gestures during their 2011 Asian Cup Group B soccer match against Syria in Doha on January 9, 2011. Saudi Arabia sacked Peseiro after Sunday's shock 2-1 defeat by Syria in their opening Asian Cup match, the state news agency SPA said. Image Credit: Reuters

Doha: Saudi Arabia coach Jose Peseiro was sacked after Saudi Arabia were stunned by Syria 2-1 in a Group B match in Doha on Sunday night  in the Asian Cup.

The Portuguese coach, who was under fire for some time now, particularly by the Saudi media, was given the boot soon after their opening match defeat.

Naser Al Johar will now step in as care-taker coach for the remainder of the tournament, in which Saudi Arabia have made it to every final in the last five editions and won three of  them.

“The performance was bad and we want to correct things before the next two matches,” said Saudi Football Federation President HRH Prince Sultan Bin Fahd on television while confirming Peseiro's departure.

Peseiro, a former Al Hilal and Panathinaikos coach, took over from Al Johar in 2009  but failed to see Saudi Arabia qualify for the 2010 Fifa World Cup and late last year they also lost the Gulf Cup final to Kuwait.

Al Johar will now lead the team against Jordan (January 13) and Japan (January 17)