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      22.06.2016 10.00 - in: Tour - Field S

      Melbourne Victory vs Juventus

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      INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP

      Melbourne Victory vs Juventus

      23 July 2016
      Kick-off 19.00 (11.00 CEST)
      Melbourne Cricket Ground

      The hosts

      Melbourne Victory Football Club are one of the founding members of Australia’s Hyundai A-League and have competed in the country’s top-flight ever since its inauguration in 2004.

      Sharing the city’s allegiances with local rivals Melbourne City, Victory are the only team to have completed the domestic double – composed of a regular season league and a winner-takes-all play-off – on three separate occasions in 2006/07, 2008/09 and 2014/15.

      Only Brisbane Roar can match Melbourne’s haul of regular season titles and the pair are set to kick off the 2016/17 A-League season against each other on 7 October. 

      Coach, captain and key names

      Fans of either the British or Australian game will need to no introduction to the Victory’s head coach Kevin Muscat.

      Once of Crystal Palace, Rangers and Milwall, the tough-tackling defender returned to his native Australia in 2005 after making over 300 appearances in the United Kingdom, joining Melbourne as the team’s inaugural captain, a title he would hold until his retirement in 2011.

      It would not be long however before the Socceroos international was back under the AAMI Park spotlights, replacing current national team tactician Ange Postecoglu as head coach in 2014 and the move reaped immediate rewards. Losing just four times in the regular season, Muscat guided his team to the title in his debut campaign, receiving the honour of manager of the year as a result.

      While the boss may be recognised in the Anglo-Saxon supporting world, there’s a chance Italian fans will have come across Victory captain Carl Valeri. Now 31 years old, Valeri began his career at Inter before taking in spells with Spal, Grosseto and Sassuolo, with whom he lifted a history-making maiden Serie B crown.

      A switch down under would follow a few months later and the anchorman has since cemented his place in the midfields of both the Big Vs and the Australian national side, earning 51 caps since making his first appearance against China in March 2007.

      Muscat’s men will have to do without record scorer Archie Thompson for the coming campaign however, after the forward announced his retirement just a few weeks ago.

      With 90 strikes to his name, five of which coming in the 2007 Grand Final against Adelaide United, Thompson departs the Victory as a legend not only of the club but also of the national game as a whole. Besart Berisha is the man banging in the goals for the Blues these days: the Albanian forward has netted 33 times in 54 outings since joining from Brisbane in 2014.

       

      Home turf

      Unusually, Melbourne Victory share their home fixtures between the smaller 30,000-seater AAMI park and the larger multi-purpose Docklands Stadium, with the latter used for the club’s play-off fixtures due to its larger capacity.

      Juventus are set to train at the Victory’s more permanent base on the eve of their International Champions Cup opener against the former Australian champions with the fixture itself scheduled to be held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on 23 July. For a sense of the stadium’s scale, as many as 95,000 supporters flocked to the MCG to watch the Victory face Liverpool in 2013.

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