Fri, Jul 22, 3:58pm by Staff Writer
Match: Melbourne Victory v Juventus, International Champions Cup
Time, Date and Venue: 7pm Saturday July 23 at MCG
It used to be a rare treat for Australian football fans to see the best in the business grace our shores. The only chance for many was on TV or expensive trips to Europe along with stories or newspaper clippings sent by family and friends. Not any more though. The youngsters around the country today are blessed with an off-season that regularly sees the worlds best head down under to strut their stuff.
The aim for the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea is to build a worldwide fan base by spreading their brand to all corners of the globe. It’s all in the name of friendly competition of course, but just try telling that to Melbourne Victory coach, Kevin Muscat, who was caught bellowing instructions to his players at training before their encounter with Italian giants Juventus on Saturday night.
“You’re not going to get time for three, four, five touches,” he said.
For Victory it is a perfect test for a new look squad that will be keen to impress and show fans they can still compete without the likes of Gui Finkler, Kosta Barbarouses and Mathieu Delpierre.
Juventus have themselves brought a squad that is missing many of the stars that secured the Serie A title last season. Paul Pogba, Claudio Marchisio, Patrice Evra, and Sami Khedira are all staying in Italy after extended runs in the European Championships, but even with the big names missing and ten teenagers named in the squad you have to think it will be a big ask for Melbourne Victory to edge any sort of a result.
Juventus are $1.50 hot favorites with William Hill and Victory $6.50 outsiders and rightly so. The Italian club will still boast Mitalem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala in their starting line up while Victory have lost many of the stars that made them such a force in the last two years.
Another good bet could be the Half Time, Full Time double. These games are often very slow to get going before the stronger side takes over in the second period. This makes a half time draw with a full time Juventus win at $4.25 a good opportunity to make some cash from William Hill.
But for me it’s all about the correct score line. I was there in 2008 when an under strength Juventus beat Victory 4-0 and made my self a tidy profit predicting the right score. I reckon there’s goals in this one to. Victory will push the issue and maybe have one in them, but my money is on a Juventus 3-1 win with William Hill offering odds of $12.00. It should be a cracker though with a big crowd expected at the MCG. I just hope the predicted rain in Melbourne doesn’t ruin the show.
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