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Victory up for Juventus challenge in ICC

AAP logoAAP 22/07/2016 By Ben McKay

Melbourne Victory have pledged to take the fight to reigning Italian champions Juventus.

The MCG on Saturday night hosts the first of three International Champions Cup matches when the biggest clubs in Australia and Italy meet.

It's an occasion only half-baked. The MCG will have more empty seats than occupied ones, and there's little on the line.

Juventus has left 13 senior internationals behind after a taxing campaign and this will be Victory's first match of a specially lengthened pre-season to fit in the fixture.

But while the occasion doesn't have superstar power or silverware, the match itself promises to be fascinating.

Juventus' second XI would handily account for other Serie A rivals, and is being led by perhaps their best player in Paulo Dybala.

Dybala, 22, is being touted as the heir to countryman Argentinian Leo Messi's place in the national side after a stellar season where he topped the Juventus scoring charts.

Muscat, who played for Victory against Juventus on their last visit to Melbourne in 2007, said he didn't want his side of be overawed.

"We want to go out there and have a go," he said.

"Make no mistake, it's an opportunity for us as well.

"For the individuals ... us as a club, our nation as well to make sure we can compete at this stage."

Muscat said he would give starting debuts to new signings Mitch Austin and James Donachie.

Donachie will partner Nick Ansell in defence, with Spanish recruit Alan Baro likely to start on the bench.

"Everyone will get some game time. It's unrealistic at this point in the pre-season to expect players to play 70, 80, 90 minutes," he said.

"Alan got here a little bit after (Mitch and James) ... he's not up at the same level as those two conditionally."

Muscat said his biggest challenge would be to ensure his players didn't push themselves beyond their boundaries so early in pre-season.

"It's going to be difficult to hold the boys back," he said.

"We're playing against some very good individuals and a very good team.

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