China / Sports

Brilliant Buffon finally beaten - after 974 minutes

By Associated Press In Milan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-22 08:32

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon on Sunday set a Serie A record for not conceding a goal, while Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain closed in on a league record of his own.

Buffon shattered the 22-year-old record in Juventus' 4-1 win at local rival Torino, stretching his run to 974 consecutive minutes before he was finally beaten - on a penalty kick.

The previous record was held by Sebastiano Rossi, who kept a shutout streak of 929 minutes for AC Milan from Dec 12, 1993, to Feb 27, 1994.

Buffon matched that in the fourth minute of the Derby della Mole.

"The lion's share of the credit should go to the guys in front of me, right from our forwards who work so hard, all the way back to our defense which is made up of some of the world's best defenders," Buffon said.

"I began thinking that this record was possible after we beat Atalanta, but some people were even asking me about it after three or four consecutive clean sheets! In my career I had never imagined that I would have a personal record like this."

Paul Pogba and Sami Khedira - who was sent off late on - scored for Juventus before Andrea Belotti's 48th-minute penalty.

Alvaro Morata netted twice to secure the win and ensure Juventus remained three points clear of Napoli.

"It was a great win because it's helped to put what happened in Munich behind us," Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said after the game.

"It wasn't an easy game for us but the lads did well to keep Torino's chances down and, although I had to replace Dybala, it worked out well for us with Morata in the end."

Juve's hopes of seeing Genoa cause an upset against Napoli were given early momentum in the 10th minute when Tomas Rincon opening the scoring for the visiting side.

Higuain's two goals helped the team come from behind to beat Genoa 3-1. The Argentina forward has scored 29 league goals this season, six short of the record since Serie A has had 20 teams.

That mark is also held by a former Milan player - Gunnar Nordahl, who netted 35 times in 37 matches in 1949-50.

"I'm happy with my double," Higuain said. "I dedicate it to Napoli's fans and the people who love me. It was crucial to win in order to remain near the top. We gave our all to come back.

"It was a very tough match and we managed to regain control with a great performance. We want to stay at the top of the table and we have to continue, knowing that we have eight finals ahead of us."

Higuain has matched Edinson Cavani's Napoli record of 29 goals in a season.

He has beaten his previous best tally in a league season, which was 27 for Real Madrid in 2009-10. That year Higuain also recorded his best tally of 30 goals in all competitions.

He has 31 this season.

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