Superstar Italian Alessandro Del Piero made a second half cameo, but it couldn't help the A-League All-Stars find a way past a resilient Young Socceroos outfit in a 0-0 at WIN Stadium on Tuesday.
In their first hit-out as a squad the All-Stars failed to find the spark in the attacking third and could very well have conceded on several occasions to a well-drilled Under-20's squad.
Del Piero gave a 25-minute stint on the left side of the All-Stars attack, much to the delight of 7,000 football fans turned out in Wollongong.
But it proved fruitless as the All-Stars failed to break down their young rivals.
With just a few training sessions under their belt, the All-Stars lacked the polish usually seen from several of the competition's best.
"The first half we did a good job, but the second half, tactically we made some mistakes in the middle of the midfield lines. I think if we have this gap on Sunday, a good team like Juventus, with experience, can punish us," All-Stars coach Josep Gombau said after the match.
Perhaps most alarming for Gombau was the amount of solid chances offered up to the Young Socceroos by the All-Stars defence.
Jaushua Sotorio and Shannon Brady both had huge opportunities to give the underdogs the lead in the first half and should have done better with the chances.
Sotorio also spurned perhaps the best of the bunch after half-time when his one-on-one attempt was saved by substitute keeper Mark Birighitti.
Yet for large portions of the match, the All-Stars had dominated possession but failed to create any major opportunities of their own.
Thomas Broich and Marcelo Carrusca both threatened to unlock the Young Socceroos' back-four throughout the first half but couldn't find the final pass or failed to pull the trigger.
When things finally started to come together for the All-Stars 23 minutes in, Young Socceroos keeper Jordan Thurtell proved up to the task and made a magnificent triple-save to deny several quick-fire attempts on goal.
Carrusca first tested the Perth Glory custodian from close range before Bernie Ibini and Besart Berisha were both denied in stunning fashion.
Only Berisha, Broich, David Williams and captain Matt Smith survived a raft of changes at the break, as Gombau stayed true to his word before the match and tested all of his 20-man squad.
But it couldn't provide the extra firepower the All-Stars needed.
Finally, after failing to appear when Sydney FC came to town in preaseason last year, the Wollongong fans got to see the man they'd long been waiting for.
Del Piero came on in the 65th minute for David Williams and immediately made his presence felt.
The former Juventus star found Youssouf Hersi with a pinpoint cross-field ball but the Perth Glory man could only fire his attempt straight at Thurtell.
He then had a chance of his own to steal the show, but put his attempt wide of the mark to leave the match scoreless.
"In terms of the attitude of the players, I am satisfied," Gombau said.
"Everybody gave 100 per cent and I think we had a good game. The objective of this game is to play together and try and mix the team and make sure the players have minutes."