Diego Maradona's hopes of winning his first coaching title were dashed Sunday as his Dorados team lost the Mexican second-division finals, along with their shot at promotion.
Rivals Atlético San Luis scored the lone goal of the second leg in extra time to clinch the title and a spot in the first division – the second time they have left Maradona empty-handed in two consecutive finals.
"I nearly died... But it's fine. I'm sad for my boys, though," Maradona said after the match.
The Argentine legend and his team faced a tough task heading into the second-leg match, having been held 1-1 in the first leg at home in Culiacán, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.
Maradona, 58, took the coaching job at the Sinaloa-based club in September – amusing sceptics who questioned why the 1986 World Cup champion, who has publicly battled various addictions, would move to a place better known for drug cartels than football.
But he has answered his critics by coaching the struggling Dorados to back-to-back finals, both against San Luis.
San Luis defeated Dorados 4-3 on aggregate in the fall season finals in December.
Having now won the spring finals, too, the club – an affiliate of Atlético Madrid – gain automatic promotion to the first division. Had they lost, they would have faced a play-off against Dorados to decide which won promotion.
Maradona can legitimately boast to having turned Dorados around: they were in 13th place in their 15-team division when he arrived.
But the dream of winning a title as coach still eludes him, after stints managing the Argentine national team and various clubs in Argentina, the Middle East and now Mexico.