Melbourne Victory v Juventus – Melbourne Cricket Ground at 10:00 live on Sky Sports 1
It’s an early start for football fans on Saturday with Italian giants Juventus travelling to Australia to take on Melbourne Victory at the Melbourne Cricket ground in the ICC 2016.
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This will be Melbourne Victory’s first game since their competitive season finished in May, their last match ending their reign in the AFC Champions League as Jeonbuk Motors knocking out Kevin Muscat’s side over two legs 3-2.
Furthermore, last season the A-League side finished fourth in the table which was disappointing for the fans considering they completed the treble in 2015.
Carl Valeri is the Blues captain and has represented Australia 52 times, entering his third season with the title contenders.
This will be Melbourne City’s first ICC tournament and what better way to get stuck in than hosting the Italian Champions on their home turf. What the Blues really need is a kick-start heading into the new campaign as players need the belief that they can go on and challenge for the title once again under Muscat.
There’s only one recognisable name in the City line-up and that is veteran goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, previously of Aston Villa and Stoke City, but they also have a long-time serving Leigh Broxham who has featured over 200 times for the Aussie outfit.
Juventus, meanwhile will want to brush away the cobwebs heading to Australia, considering they will be taking on Tottenham three days later at the same stadium.
The Old Lady heads into this friendly tournament having completed the double last season after a great display in the league winning their fifth consecutive title, and a 1-0 win in extra-time against AC Milan for the Coppa Italia.
Massimiliano Allegri has already been busy in this transfer window having secured the services of defenders Medhi Benatia and Dani Alves, as well as splashing out £27 million on Miralem Pjanic from AS Roma.
There is still doubt whether Paul Pogba will be a Juve player once the new Serie A season begins, but looking at the squad at their disposal it will take a quality team to not only knock off the Old Lady from the top spot but to carry the momentum throughout the season.
This is only the second time Allegri’s side have featured in the ICC, their last participation was back in 2013 in America where they lost all three matches including a 3-1 defeat to LA Galaxy.
These two teams have never met before. I cannot see Melbourne winning this match, unless Allegri fields a very weak side. However, being a friendly competition I’m not expecting fireworks or an end to end match, but it’s a good way to start off the weekend.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 3 goals @ 1.84 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage
Prices correct at time of writing.