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Coach Mombaerts leaves Melbourne City to return to France

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Coach Erick Mombaerts has left A-League's Melbourne City to return to France for family reasons and will be replaced by Patrick Kisnorbo.

The change comes days after Melbourne City lost the A-League grand final 1-0 to Sydney FC on Sunday.

Mombaerts leaves after 14 months in charge and having led City to second in the A-League in the regular season, its highest-ever finishing position. It also secured an Asian Champions League qualifying playoff spot.

“I am sad to leave Melbourne City in these circumstances, but I am so very proud of the players and what the club has achieved during my time here,” Mombaerts said in a statement Thursday. “I have had a fantastic experience in Melbourne and I will always remember my time here with much fondness, but I have been away from my family for a long time and now I must return to care for them in France.”

Mombaerts, 65, originally joined City on a three-year deal in June 2019. He was manager at Paris Saint- Germain in 1987-88 among his other coaching positions which included Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan's J-League from 2015-18.

The 39-year-old Kisnorbo, an ex-Australia defender, joined City (then Melbourne Heart) in 2013 and went on to become club captain before shifting into coaching after his retirement in 2016.

Mombaerts’ departure means only four of the 11 head coaches who started the 2019-20 A-League season will still be at the helm of their respective clubs at the start of next season __ Steve Corica (Sydney), Alen Stajcic (Central Coast), Mark Rudan (Western United) and Ufuk Talay (Wellington).

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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