Bento jettisoned by Olympiakos after string of losses

Football Soccer - Olympiacos news conference - Astana v Olympiacos - UEFA Europa League Group Stage - Group B - Astana Arena Stadium, Astana, Kazakhstan - 02/11/16. Olympiacos' coach Paulo Bento attends a news conference. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

ATHENS (Reuters) - Paulo Bento has been sacked as coach by Greece's Olympiakos after a string of poor results, the Super League club announced on Monday.

The 47-year-old Portuguese coach had come under pressure since Sunday’s 2-0 loss to PAOK Salonika. That gave it three straight league defeats for the first time in 21 years.

"Olympiakos announces the end of its cooperation with Paulo Bento,", the club said in a brief statement. It added that Under 20 coach Vasilis Vouzas would take over as interim coach, assisted by Ariel Ibagaza.

Bento was hired in August 2016. He has had a successful season so far - the club is seven points clear at the top of the table, in the Greek Cup semi-finals and in the Europa League’s last 16. But the loss to PAOK prompted club owner Vangelis Marinakis to act.

Before the defeat by PAOK at the Toumba, the Red and Whites also lost to Panionios at home and AEK Athens at the Olympic Stadium.

Vouzas now has a few days to rally his players before the visit of Turkey's Besiktas in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16. They meet at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Pireaus on Thursday.

(Editing by Larry King)