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A-League preview: Victory favourites

By ESPN Staff

Sydney FC secure six matches in Italy

Sydney FC have locked in six friendlies for their three-week pre-season tour of Italy next month, including a clash with Alessandro Del Piero's first professional club Padova.

The Sky Blues will fly a 23-man squad to Venice on Friday ahead of their first fixture on August 7 against the Padua-based outfit that Del Piero joined as a 14-year-old.

The A-League marquee debuted for the Serie B team in 1991, playing two seasons in their senior side before switching to Juventus.

Sydney FC, who will be based in Jesolo on the Adriatic Sea, will also take on the reserve sides from Serie A clubs Udinese (August 8) and A.S. Cittadella (August 14).

They will round out their tour with fixtures against Serie B side Vicenza Calcio (August 13), Venezia (August 17) - who last season won promotion to the third tier of Italian football - and Reggiana (August 21).

Coach Frank Farina said the tour was a crucial lead up to the A-League season, which kicks off on October 11 against Newcastle.

"This tour will give us a great opportunity to put into practice the changes we are making to our style of play while taking on good opposition in hot conditions similar to what we will experience during the season," Farina said.

"We will also be training twice a day to make sure we come back from the tour ready to enter the final phase of pre season."


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