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Melbourne Victory 1 Juventus 1 (Melbourne win 4-3 on pens): Thomas inspires Victory as Juve pay pena

SoccerNews in Serie A 23 Jul 2016

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Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas bounced back from second-half embarrassment to secure a 4-3 penalty shootout triumph over Juventus in the International Champions Trophy.

Thomas looked on helplessly as Juventus youngster Carlos Blanco sent a 50-yard chip sailing over his head to sensationally open the scoring in a 1-1 draw at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

That lead remained intact until seven minutes from time when Jai Ingham slotted home a fine and deserved equaliser for the hosts and Thomas cast himself as the shootout hero, with decisive saves from Roman Macek and Stefano Padovan to claim a significant pre-season scalp for the A-League side.

With Juventus’ Euro 2016 stars absent – most notably Paul Pogba as speculation over a mooted world-record transfer to Manchester United continues to swirl – Massimiliano Allegri fielded a somewhat unfamiliar XI, although star forward Paulo Dybala was to the fore during his team’s best first-half moments.

The Argentina international, who Juventus are reportedly close to uniting with his compatriot Gonzalo Higuain in attack, showed plenty of bright flashes and rippled the top of the netting with an excellent whipped free-kick.

Much of the Victory’s best work came via the impressive Mitch Austin on the left flank and his teasing cross on the stroke of half-time was headed goalwards by Besart Berisha to prompt a sharp reaction stop from Neto.

Following the anticipated raft of half-time substitutions, Blanco brought the contest to life in style as Thomas under-hit a clearance, but Juventus were unable to build on the breakthrough.

Austin blotted his evening’s work by blazing over at the back post but Ingham was on hand to convert a pleasing one-touch move with a measured low finish.

Ingham scored the first of four consecutive successful penalties from the Victory after Carl Valeri’s initial effort was saved and Thomas capitalised on his team-mate’s composure.

Juventus return to the MCG to face Tottenham on Tuesday.

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