Maclaren delight at first Australia goal

Jamie Maclaren was happy to get off the mark for Australia, in their 3-0 Asian Cup victory against Palestine.

The Hibernian frontman broke his duck in his 10th appearance for the Socceroos, netting with a header from Tom Rogic's cross.

His goal on 18 minutes in Dubai gave Graham Arnold's side a lift, and when Awer Mabil made it 2-0 just two minutes later they had a stranglehold on the match.

Maclaren said of his goal: "It's been a long time coming…but I've just stayed on my path. I'm a goalscorer and it was going to come one way or another; many people say I can't head the ball but today I showed them."

He added: "Right from the start we scored two early goals so that really settles us. It's a great win from the boys and a clean sheet as well helps."

There was pressure on the Socceroos after they went down 1-0 in their first game to Jordan, but Chris Ikonomidis, who claimed assists on goals by Mabil and substitute Apostolos Giannou, said there had been no panic in the squad ahead of the Palestine match.

"We just stuck to our tactics throughout the week; it's a new era under Arnie and we're really finding our feet now," he added.

"We were a young front line out there today and it showed in our fluency up front, our diversity and interchanging positions."

Ikonomidis was one of three new faces in the Socceroos starting side following the Jordan loss.

Australia will face Syria in their final Group B game, knowing a draw will be enough to send them through.

The Socceroos are 1/2 to win their next game against Syria, who are 13/2 with the draw 14/5.

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Socceroos back on track in Asian Cup

Two early goals powered Australia to a first win at the Asian Cup, as they beat Palestine 3-0 in Dubai.

Shocked in their opening Group B match by Jordan, the Socceroos rebounded strongly with Jamie Maclaren and Awer Mabil netting inside the first 20 minutes.

A header from substitute Apostolos Giannou a minute from time rounded off the comfortable win at Rashid Stadium.

With Jordan winning their second match, 2-0 against Syria, it means Australia can't now catch them for top spot in the group but are well placed to go through as the second automatic qualifiers.

They have two more points than Palestine or Syria, and only need a draw against Syria in their final match to progress.

Maclaren headed home an 18th minute cross from Tom Rogic, who was able to play despite having broken a bone in his hand against Jordan.

It was Hibernian striker Maclaren's first goal for the Socceroos, his glancing header nestling in the far corner beyond keeper Rami Hamada.

Within two minutes Mabil ghosted in to latch on to an angled ball from Chris Ikonomidis. Giannou's goal also came from an Ikonomidis cross.

The Socceroos could have gone 3-0 up before the break, but Mabil blazed over from close range.

Graham Arnold's side almost scored again when Rhyan Grant's low cross deflected off Abdallah Jaber and struck the bar.

Palestine did not muster a single effort on target and have failed to score in their two games so far.

But they can still go through if they beat Jordan, who have already secured qualification.

The Socceroos are 1/2 to win their next game against Syria, who are 13/2 with the draw 14/5.

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Injury concerns for Australia

Josh Risdon could add to Australia's worries ahead of their second Asian Cup clash with Palestine.

The Western Sydney right-back was substituted at half-time during the shock 1-0 defeat to Jordan in Al Ain.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold had already had to alter his selection plans going into the game, after forward Andrew Nabbout was injured in the squad's final training session.

It meant a late call-up for Jamie Maclaren and Nabbout will now be monitored in the run-up to what is now a vital meeting with Palestine on Friday.

Arnold said he'd taken off Risdon at the interval with a groin issue which would be assessed in the next 24 hours, but the coach said he wasn't looking to use injury as an excuse for the defeat to the team ranked 109th in the world.

He felt they had squandered too many chances, while Jordan's veteran keeper and captain Amer Shafi had done well to deny them.

"We got the ball in position, we hit the post, their goalkeeper had a great game," said Arnold. "It's a matter of believing in what we're doing and I'm pretty sure that will come.

"It's the first game and we'll show a lot of Australian character, Aussie spirit and we'll fight back."

Arnold said the Socceroos, who had a massive 77 per cent of possession, had come up against a side whose gameplan had worked, as a first-half header from defender Anas Bani-Yaseen proved decisive.

Speaking of Jordan, the Australia coach said: "They made it difficult for us, they gave us no space; they had a lot of energy, a lot of fight. It was one of those days, a frustrating day when the ball just didn't seem to bounce."

The Socceroos are 1/4 to win their next game against Palestine, who are 11/1, with the draw 9/2.

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Maclaren feels Arnold’s support

Being without a goal from his first seven games for Australia hasn't affected the confidence of Jamie Maclaren.

The 25-year-old is looking forward to helping the Socceroos try to defend their Asian Cup trophy, having been named as the only specialist striker in Graham Arnold's 23-man squad.

Maclaren established himself as a regular goalscorer during his time with Brisbane Roar.

He had back-to-back seasons where he scored 20 goals, winning the A-League's Golden Boot in 2016-17.

Now on loan with Hibernian from German outfit SV Darmstadt 98, Maclaren says he's been well supported by Arnold.

"Yes, you do have hurdles you have to overcome and you do have spells where you're out of form or whatever … but I know that Graham Arnold is going to give me some backing," he added.

"Now it's up to me to come on and really produce and step up on this stage."

Maclaren has made only three starts for Australia, and though he was picked by Bert van Marwijk's squad for this year's World Cup he remained unused on the bench.

He made his third start for the national team last month against South Korea.

"I know there's been times I have had chances that I should have scored. You can't beat yourself up about that, you've got to keep moving forward," he said.

"If I can go on that field and represent my country and do what the coach has asked, be a team player and not think about individual targets, goals will come for me."

The striker will go into the tournament short on minutes, having scored just once in 12 games this season for Hibs.

Australia are 1/4 to win their first game at the Asian Cup against Jordan, who are 10/1 with the draw 9/2.

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Maclaren gets Socceroos nod

Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren is back in Australia's squad for next week's friendly against South Korea in Brisbane.

But fellow striker Apostolos Giannou, who scored his first Socceroos goal in last month's 4-0 win over Kuwait, has been left out.

Maclaren, on loan from German side Darmstadt, is joined in the squad by uncapped Hibs teammate Martin Boyle for the match at Suncorp Stadium.

Coach Graham Arnold said he had called Greek-born Giannou to explain why he had been left out.

Speaking of the Greek-born six-cap forward, Arnold said: "He did great for me in Kuwait but it's more about me getting the opportunity to look at Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout. It's about me being able to tick every box with these players and giving them the opportunity."

Maclaren is available again after injury and is set to get the opportunity to play at his former ground – he played 53 games for Brisbane Roar before his move to Germany last year.

Arnold said Maclaren was held in high regard by Hibernian boss Neil Lennon, and he looked forward to his first chance of working with him.

"I haven't seen him really in a game situation that I've worked closely with him," he added. "I know what his qualities are, his qualities are scoring goals and I expect that to happen."

Western Sydney Wanderers defender Josh Risdon has been named to face the Koreans on 17th November, while there are train-on places for four other A-League stars.

Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United), and Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets) will all get the opportunity to impress before the Socceroos take on Lebanon on 20th November at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Meanwhile, Maclaren's Hibernian are 11/5 to win their next game against Aberdeen, who are 13/10 with the draw 9/4.

Hibs are 15/2 to win 1-0.

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Roar chase replacements overseas

Brisbane Roar are on the hunt for two overseas stars to add to next season's squad, after seeing three players leave.

Coach John Aloisi is targeting a striker and a winger from overseas for the 2017/18 season, as direct replacements for Jamie Maclaren and Brandon Borrello.

The attacking duo have confirmed their departure from the club, along with German midfielder Thomas Broich who has twice won the Johnny Warren Medal as the A-League's player of the year while with Brisbane.

The Roar fully expected Maclaren to leave at the end of his contract, as he had knocked back the offer of a new deal.

He leaves having ended the season as joint winner of the Golden Boot along with Melbourne Victory's Besart Berisha, both men netting 19 goals.

"I've grown as a player, but when you feel like you've reached the limit, you feel like you want to go that next step – it's a good time for me (to leave)," said Maclaren.

Borrello is moving to German second division side Kaiserslautern and Maclaren could be joining him there.

"It could be an option but it's not my focus. I'm not just going to go to another club because Brandon's there," said the striker. "We do have (on-field) chemistry and it would help."

Aloisi and Brisbane football director Craig Moore are set to head overseas on a scouting mission in the off-season. Their stops will include Brazil, where Moore already has some key contacts.

Brisbane have yet to confirm whether Spanish winger Arana, who had minor ankle surgery on Thursday, will be at the club next season.

Brisbane are 8/1 to win the 2017/18 Grand Final, with Melbourne City 13/2 and Perth Glory 8/1.

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Roar deny Maclaren punishment

Managing director Mark Kingsman denies Brisbane Roar's contract impasse with striker Jamie Maclaren is keeping him out of the starting eleven.

Maclaren, who has been strongly linked with several English clubs including Stoke City, has rejected a contract offer from Brisbane.

His deal expires at the end of this season and given that his agent described the Roar's offers as "disgusting and disrespectful", it doesn't appear hopeful that he will remain in Brisbane beyond then.

Though he played his first two games for Australia last year and is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the A-League, he's been left on the bench for the past two games by Roar coach John Aloisi.

He was used as a substitute in games against Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix, adding fuel to speculation that he's not starting games because of his contract situation.

However, Kingsman has denied claims that it's a tactic being used by the club to put pressure on him to re-sign. He's dismissed suggestions he has told Aloisi not to start Maclaren as a punishment.

"I'm not telling John who to pick," said Kingsman. "I have neither the experience nor the expertise to do so and I have no influence on team selection whatsoever, so I categorically deny these claims.

"It's John's job to pick the best possible team to give it the best chance to win a football match and achieve what you want to achieve – that is our focus. Team selection is the coach's decision."

Kingsman said it was understandable that Aloisi had shaken up the team given that they'd suffered three straight defeats before beating Wellington last weekend at Westpac Stadium.

"If something is not working well you do not persist with it," he said. "The media had been calling for changes when we hit a rough patch and when John made the changes they are now questioning the reason behind those changes."

The Roar are 21/20 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 13/5, with the draw 13/5.

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