(Photo credit: Melbourne City)

On the eve of tonight’s AFC Champions League fixture between Melbourne City and Zhejiang FC at IKON Park, Carlton soccer aficionados old enough to remember will recall the last time an international was staged at the venue.

It happened 30 years ago, back in June 17, 1993, when the Eddie Thomson-coached Australian outfit met Fabio Capello’s touring Italian Serie A powerhouse AC Milan under lights at Princes Park in a two-match series across Melbourne and Sydney.

Amongst those taking the pitch for the Socceroos in that Princes Park friendly was the captain Paul Wade, Paul Trimboli and Tony Vidmar; and for AC Milan Gianluigi Lentini, Franco Baresi and Jean-Pierre Papin were among the starters.

The contest, which attracted 23,251 to the venue, resulted in a 2-0 victory to AC Milan, with Simone and Lentini each scoring with headers in the 53rd and 63rd minutes respectively.

Historically, the Carlton ground served as the home venue for the National Soccer League’s Carlton teams (which included Archie Thompson, Mark Bresciano and Simon Colosimo) from seasons 1997-’98 through to Round 8, 2000-’01.

In September 2007, it doubled as a training venue for the Graham Arnold-led Australian team prior to a friendly with Argentina on the MCG – and again in June 2017 for the Socceroos (then under the watch of the current Tottenham Manager Ange Postecoglou) prior to the Brazil friendly again on the ‘G.

In December 2011, the ground again doubled as a training venue for the touring LA Galaxy and David Beckham (famously photographed with the then Carlton captain Marc Murphy) prior to a friendly with Melbourne Victory at the Docklands.