Brazilian coach cull reaches 26 this season

(Clarifies time scale of sackings in first and last paras)

By Pedro Fonseca

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Two more trainers in Brazil's top flight were sacked after the weekend's matches, bringing to 26 the number of coaching changes this year and 14 since the national championship started in May.

Tenth-placed Vitoria sacked Paulo Cesar Carpeggiani on Monday after four months in charge following their 2-2 draw at home to one-from-bottom Fluminense a day earlier.

Vitoria started the championship brightly and were in the top four for the first 12 matches, but have since gone into decline with only one win in their last eight.

"There comes a time when it's best to stop. Time will tell if the team can react. I think the good start in the championship bred too much optimism," Carpeggiani, who coached Paraguay at the 1998 World Cup in France, told reporters.

Botafogo's Ney Franco, who steered the club clear of relegation last year, lasted much longer by Brazilian standards but was sacked after 13 months with the Rio de Janeiro-based team in 15th place.

Botafogo lost 1-0 at home to Atletico Paranaense on Saturday in a match that included a controversial incident over a penalty they were awarded when the game was still scoreless.

Although Franco had asked captain Lucio Flavio to take the penalty after Andre Lima was fouled, the striker who was brought down took it himself and hit the bar.

The club's directors took the incident as a sign that Franco had lost the confidence of his squad.

"He did a good job renewing the squad at the start of the season but we came to the conclusion that at this moment a change would be for the best," director of football Andre Silva said in a statement on the club's website (www.botafogo.com.br).

The season begins with state tournaments before the 20-team Brazilian championship kicks off in May. Since then only eight teams have not changed coaches, with a total of 14 coaching casualties after 18 rounds, including two apiece at Paranaense and Sport Recife. (Editing by John O'Brien; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)