Mombaerts wonders whether Maclaren could have won Melbourne Derby

City coach Erick Mombaerts could not help but ponder whether Jamie Maclaren would have been decisive following a Melbourne Derby stalemate. 

Caltex Socceroos striker Maclaren showed a lethal touch to net his first international hat-trick in Australia’s 5-0 demolition of Nepal in Canberra on Thursday.

The 26-year-old marksmen travelled with Graham Arnold’s squad to Chinese Taipei for the second game of the international window on Tuesday, leaving him unavailable for Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League.

Mombaerts was impressed with Lachlan Wales, who deputised for Maclaren, but admits the result may have been different had his star forward been on the Marvel Stadium field.

“Jamie is a striker, is our best striker, so maybe if he has some good chance, as we did, maybe he can score one,” Mombaerts said.

“I can’t also complain about this. We knew this situation before so I have to congratulate our young players because it’s not easy to substitute for Jamie.

“They did well, they work a lot. They have to improve in finishing but also we trust our young players.”

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Wales, 21, led the line for City with 19-year-old Connor Metcalfe offering support from midfield. 

Mombaerts turned to pair of teenagers, Ramy Najjarine and Mood Najjar, from the bench in an attempt to grab a winner as the visitors had the best of the late opportunities.

Wales netted three goals in the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 and, although he could not breach Victory’s resistance, Mombaerts had no hesitation he made the right choice.

“To substitute Jamie we have a few options,” he added. 

“Wales can offer to the team the depth we need in our style of play. He is one of the fastest players we have. 

“He can work defensively and he is powerful, we think it was the best option.”

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