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Victory ready for Galaxy clash

Sunday, 4 December 2011 10:14 PM
 

Victory ready for Galaxy clash

Melbourne Victory are likely to use kid gloves with any stiff and sore stars for the visit of the Los Angeles Galaxy, but chairman Anthony di Pietro believes motivation will not be an issue for Mehmet Durakovic's men against David Beckham and company.

Victory returned to Melbourne nursing bruised bodies and confidence after falling to the Newcastle Jets 3-1 in their A-League encounter on Saturday.

It had all looked so promising for Victory, who took a first-half lead through Carlos Hernandez's spectacular strike and had marquee man Harry Kewell in encouraging form.

But a double to Ryan Griffiths and Labinot Haliti's header ensured Victory were to leave the Hunter Valley empty handed.

In perhaps a welcome distraction for Durakovic and his men, MLS champions Los Angeles touched down in Melbourne on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's friendly at Etihad Stadium.

With his substitutes bench extended to seven, di Pietro expects Durakovic to hand playing time to most of his squad.

But, even with some likely to feature in their second of third matches for the week, di Pietro said facing the likes of Beckham, Landon Donovan and Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane meant enthusiasm among the players was hardly in short supply.

"We've got some sore and sorry bodies after (Saturday), so we're going to have to float through quite a few players on Tuesday night," said di Pietro, whose club host Adelaide United this Saturday.

"We've got a few that have pulled up fairly sore and we'll be questioning up to Tuesday whether they'll be on the pitch."

"But also, there's a lot of players excited to get out there and have the experience. There's some we've got just coming back that need a little bit of game time before next week's big clash against Adelaide, so the timing of this is excellent."

"No doubt they're excited about the experience with David and of course Robbie Keane and (Landon) Donovan are just champions and great leaders."

As of Sunday afternoon, around 30,000 tickets had been sold for the match, which is potentially former England captain Beckham's final outing for the Galaxy ahead of a return to European football.

With high-profile friendlies 'an important part' of Victory's operations, Di Pietro hinted that the match may prove the beginning of a lasting relationship between the two clubs.

"We've had those discussions with (Galaxy president) Tom Payne, and we'll certainly look at that," di Pietro said when asked if any formal agreement between the two clubs could be possible.

 
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