Juventus' big three in squad to face Caroliners

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2008, 12:00am

Star players Pavel Nedved, Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet will make return appearances to Hong Kong when they spearhead Italian giants Juventus for an exhibition match against South China next month.

The trio visited the city two seasons ago when Juventus lost to local side Kitchee after a 5-3 penalty shootout in a friendly match. The two sides were level 2-2 after 90 minutes.

And Juventus, one of the most successful clubs in the history of Italian football, could find life difficult again against local powerhouses South China in the Cash 10th Anniversary Cup at Hong Kong Stadium on May 22.

'Juventus are a classy side with more than 50 trophies under their belt, but we have home-ground advantage, and with the support of the crowd, we hope we can put up a good fight,' said South China convenor Steven Lo Kit-shing.

Also in Juventus' 20-member roster are Portuguese international Tiago, Cristiano Zanetti, Jonathan Zebina and Nicola Legrottaglie.

Cardoso Mendes, 26, is a member of the Portugal national team who reached the final against Greece at the 2004 European championships.

However, three current Italian internationals - goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, midfielder Mauro Camoranesi and forward Vincenzo Iaquinta - are not available for the Hong Kong tour, as they will be preparing for the 2008 European championships.

The double-header bill will open with the Pok Oi Hospital Charity Cup between a South China Invitation XI and Premier League side Manchester City.

City, managed by Sven Goran Eriksson, feature Brazilian Elano and England's Micah Richards.

The South China invitation team will be made up of players from eight local sides, headed by Kitchee midfielder Goran Stankouski and striker Chan Siu-ki. Stankouski scored twice when the Hong Kong League XI defeated Hajduk of Croatia 2-1 in the final of the Lunar New Year Cup, while Chan also scored in the first match of that event against Penarol of Uruguay.

Tickets are priced at $580, $320, $200 and $150 for students and the elderly and will be on sale from April 27 at Hong Kong Stadium.