Maclaren retains faith in City

Striker Jamie Maclaren believes Melbourne City have the quality to upset league leaders Perth Glory on Sunday and get back into the A-League title race.

City are fifth in the table, 18 points behind Tony Popovic's side, and haven't tasted victory in six games.

Maclaren, who signed earlier this month and has scored three goals in three games, feels they are capable of handing Perth just their second defeat of the campaign.

"If we focus on our own backyard and how we are going to create chances and really push forward, then we will do good things on Sunday," said the Australia international.

"It's time to get three points, because I can sense the vibe in the team – once we do get three points we will be a hard team to stop.

"I look at the depth we have got and the quality in the team. With the way we play, people say it's all possession based, but imagine if you bring possession based with creating chances and burying chances plus being sure at the back; it's almost like a complete squad."

City failed to beat 10-man Melbourne Victory last week, despite Maclaren having given them a 16th-minute lead from the penalty spot and goals have been at a premium for Warren Joyce's side over the past nine games.

They came good in a 4-3 home win over Western Sydney last month, but their other eight outings have only yielded five goals.

City will have home advantage over Perth at AAMI Park, which they hope will tip the scales their way. They are unbeaten in their last eight home games, picking up five victories during that run.

City are 2/1 to win the game against the Glory, who are 11/8, with the draw 23/10.

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City held by 10-man Victory

Melbourne City couldn't make their one-man advantage count in the derby as they drew 1-1 with Melbourne Victory at Marvel Stadium.

Victory lost German defender Georg Niedermeier after just 15 minutes when he picked up a second yellow card.

Jamie Maclaren converted from the spot after he had been fouled in the area by Niedermeier, but Victory earned a share of the spoils thanks to Kosta Barbarouses' second-half goal.

It means City have now gone six games without a win and remain nine points behind their rivals, while Kevin Muscat's team lost their top-two spot to Sydney FC.

Maclaren fired his spot-kick beyond the dive of keeper Lawrence Thomas to give City the lead.

They could have doubled their advantage but Rostyn Griffiths saw his long-range drive rebound off the upright.

Victory, who took off Elvis Kamsoba and introduced James Donachie after Niedermeier was dismissed, made a bright start to the second half.

They equalised with a 50th-minute goal from Barbarouses, his 11th of the season, as he beat keeper Eugene Galekovic at his near post after being played in by Keisuke Honda.

Victory were rescued by the woodwork for a second time just after the hour mark when Luke Brattan's effort from distance smacked against the bar.

Maclaren said: "On a personal side you're happy with putting in a goal but it's disappointing we didn't create more chances, because I think they had one shot on goal.

"We've got players who can do it, we're creating chances, we're getting in the box and we'll move on – it's just one game."

City are 9/5 to win their next game against Perth Glory, who are 6/4 with the draw 23/10.

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Maclaren takes positives from City bow

A goal on his starting return to the A-League delighted Melbourne City striker Jamie Maclaren.

The Australia international was brought in for his bow alongside Tottenham Hotspur loanee Shayon Harrison in City's 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United.

Maclaren scored with a close-range backheel to cancel out Craig Goodwin's header for United.

It came when Luke Brattan capitalised on a tired Adelaide clearance, forcing a turnover from keeper Paul Izzo and delivering a low cross that Maclaren converted.

The striker said it had been a dream start, adding: "It was a great ball from Brattsy; obviously scoring is great and it's been a tough week for us. To score in front of my family is amazing.

"It was a bit nitty gritty but my job was to press hard and try to force mistakes, there are positives to take from it."

Coach Warren Joyce felt City had started slowly but then worked their way into the game and created good chances.

"We've played well the past few weeks and often got no points, but Shay (Harrison) did well, a good performance from (Maclaren), he's had a lot of jet lag and had to integrate into a new group, so they've done brilliantly," he said.

City missed the chance to leapfrog United into the top four. But they were at least able to maintain their two-point gap, having lost their previous two games against Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC without scoring.

They now have a spell of four away games out of five rounds, including the Melbourne derby against Victory on 23rd February.

Melbourne City are 9/1 to win the Grand Final.

Adelaide United are 8/13 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 4/1 with the draw 3/1.

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City hit back to hold Adelaide

New signing Jamie Maclaren found the net on his Melbourne City debut to earn a 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United.

The Australia international grabbed an equaliser at AAMI Park with a cheeky close-range finish to keep City two points off the top four.

Adelaide took a first-half lead through Craig Goodwin's ninth goal of the season, his header ruled to have crossed the line as it came back off the woodwork.

Maclaren got on the scoresheet midway through the second half on his return to the A-League.

It came from a turnover as Adelaide keeper Paul Izzo failed to get the ball clear from his six-yard box and Luke Brattan squared the ball, Maclaren guiding it home with a back-heel.

Adelaide, who brought in Jordy Thomassen for his debut as one of three changes to the starting side, started the better of the teams.

Maclaren and Brattan had efforts that flashed past the far post later in the half, but it was United who broke the deadlock.

Thomassen fed Mileusnic and when he whipped in his cross it was met by the head of Goodwin.

The visitors lost Mileusnic to an ankle injury just before the hour mark, just after surviving a close call.

Scott Galloway failed to get proper distance on his headed clearance and the ball fell invitingly for Shayon Harrison who blazed over the bar.

United extended their unbeaten streak to five matches, and closed the gap to third-placed Sydney FC to five points.

They will look for a fourth consecutive home victory when they host struggling Western Sydney next time out.

Adelaide are 12/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Reds are 8/13 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 4/1 with the draw 3/1.

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Harrison has ‘chemistry’ with Maclaren

Young striker Shay Harrison feels he's made a connection straight away with fellow new signing Jamie Maclaren at Melbourne City.

Harrison has signed on a loan deal for the rest of the season from Tottenham Hotspur, where he was in the under-23 side.

He has embraced the chance for senior football on the other side of the world, signing on the last day of the transfer window and flying to Australia the next day.

The 21-year-old has had his international clearance and could come into Warren Joyce's squad for Saturday's home clash with Adelaide United.

City weren't able to offload unsettled striker Bruno Fornaroli during the transfer window but were determined to strengthen their forward line – they've scored the fewest goals of any of the top-six sides.

Harrison has joined along with Maclaren, who had been on loan at Hibernian from German side Darmstadt.

He said: "I think myself and Jamie will make a big impact, both being very forward-thinking, attacking-minded players.

"We've been working on the training field and instantly we've got a chemistry; we'll be looking to show that on Saturday."

City have lost their last three away games, but their home record is good with just one defeat and five victories.

Harrison, who watched his new team in their 2-0 defeat to Sydney FC last time out, says his target is to score as many goals as possible between now and the end of his loan spell.

"I'm very direct with an eye for goal; obviously being a striker I like to get in behind and get at defenders," he added. "I really want to show what I'm about."

Melbourne City are 8/1 to win the Grand Final.

City are 5/4 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 19/10 with the draw 13/5.

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Maclaren signing boosts City

Melbourne City have completed the signing of Australia international striker Jamie Maclaren on a long-term deal.

Maclaren, who won the A-League's Golden Boot when he played for Brisbane Roar, has been signed on a three-and-a-half-year contract from German side SV Darmstadt 98.

He's been on loan this season with Scottish Premiership side Hibernian, but most recently has been with Australia at the Asian Cup in the UAE and scored his first goal for the Socceroos in the group game against Palestine.

He will take the place of out-of-favour Uruguayan Bruno Fornaroli, who has been left out of the squad for most of the season by coach Warren Joyce.

Fornaroli is expected to move to Perth Glory at the end of the season on a $1million deal.

Maclaren won't arrive in time to make his debut against Sydney FC on Sunday, but will be available for City's next home game against Adelaide United on 9th February.

The forward will be counted as a regular player in the squad for the rest of this season and then be upgraded to a marquee deal.

City have been using marquee defender Ritchie De Laet up front, and Joyce has been chasing Melbourne-born Maclaren, who scored 40 goals in 53 games for the Roar, since before the transfer window opened.

"Jamie is a fantastic signing for us, not only for this season but for the future," said the coach. "He's a proven goalscorer with a lot of talent and experience and at only 25 years old, he's still got plenty of upside.

"Jamie's arrival will provide a big boost to the squad as we head into the back half of the season and most importantly, he'll give us more of a goal threat."

City are 14/5 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 1/1, with the draw 5/2.

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Maclaren firmly in City’s sights

Melbourne City will step up their efforts to bring in Australia international forward Jamie Maclaren this week.

Coach Warren Joyce needs reinforcements for his squad, who are 10 points adrift of A-League leaders Perth Glory after their 1-0 defeat to Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.

And with Maclaren returning to Scottish Premiership club Hibernian after Australia were knocked out of the Asian Cup, City hope to complete the deal in the next few days.

The club have been searching for a striker since Uruguayan Bruno Fornaroli was frozen out of the picture due to his attitude in training.

Joyce has been using defender Ritchie De Laet as a makeshift forward and the Belgian has netted six times.

The team aren't scoring enough goals overall, though, to make a concerted challenge for the Premier's Plate. They've only managed 21 in their 16 games, compared to the Glory's 33 and second-placed Melbourne Victory's 36.

Maclaren is reported to have been targeted with a two-stage offer which would initially see him join for the rest of the A-League season under the salary cap and then take up a marquee spot next term.

The 25-year-old, on loan at Hibernian from German club Darmstadt, netted 37 goals in 49 appearances while with Brisbane Roar before moving to Europe in 2017.

City have two spots on their roster following the departure this month of Scottish winger Michael O'Halloran and defensive utility Osama Malik, while Joyce is concerned over De Laet's foot, which has hampered him for several weeks.

Speaking after the Phoenix defeat of the former Leicester City defender, the coach said: "He struggled again with injury today. Fingers crossed it's not a relapse of what kept him out before."

City are 11/4 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 1/1, with the draw 12/5.

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City linked with Maclaren

Melbourne City could make a move for Australia international Jamie Maclaren, after seeing Osama Malik depart for Saudi Arabia.

Maclaren, who is on loan with Scottish Premiership side Hibernian, has been strongly linked with Warren Joyce's side though the coach won't confirm the club's interest.

Joyce has, though, indicated the club are looking for two strikers to help increase their firepower after defensive utility Malik was allowed to join Al Batin.

His exit frees up money in the salary cap which City could use to net Maclaren on a long-term contract.

"We will be looking for a more forward player … there's a lot of players, a lot of possibilities," said Joyce. "We are looking at players who will help the club in the future, not just quick fixes."

Maclaren started his senior career with Perth Glory in 2013 and then had two seasons with Brisbane Roar.

He netted 40 goals in his 53 league games for Brisbane, winning the A-League's Golden Boot in 2016-17.

The 12-cap Socceroo joined German side Darmstadt the following season, but has spent the past year with Hibernian.

Joyce said City had got used to playing without Malik as injuries had kept him out for much of the season so far.

But he paid tribute to the 28-year-old, saying: "He's intelligent, he's honest, he conducts himself as a true professional. People inside the club see that and people like him because of the way he conducts himself."

City have included youngsters Moudi Najjar and Ramy Najjarine in their squad for Saturday's away clash with Wellington Phoenix.

Najjar made his debut in the 4-3 victory against Western Sydney on Tuesday.

Melbourne City are 6/1 to win the Grand Final.

City are 17/10 to win their next game against Wellington Phoenix, who are 6/4 with the draw 13/5.

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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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