Buffon sets record as Juve win again, Higuain boosts Napoli
By Brian Homewood
REUTERS - Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon set a record for the longest run without conceding a goal as the Serie A leaders won 4-1 at neighbours Torino on Sunday.
Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain continued his prolific season by scoring twice, the second a majestic effort, to help earn a 3-1 win over Genoa which kept them three points off the top.
The Argentine has scored 29 goals in his side's 30 league matches this season to lead the scoring charts by 15.
Juve's Buffon overtook Sebastiano Rossi's previous record of not conceding in 929 minutes for AC Milan, set in the 1993-94 season, in the fourth minute of Turin's Derby della Mole.
Having kept 10 successive clean sheets, Buffon was finally beaten early in the second half when Andrea Belotti converted a penalty for Torino to end his run at 974 minutes.
Juventus were already 2-0 ahead by then thanks to a free kick by Paul Pogba and an individual goal by Sami Khedira, who collected the ball near the halfway line and ran through the heart of the Torino midfield before scoring.
Torino were denied an equaliser when Maxi Lopez had a goal ruled out by a hairline offside decision and Juve took full advantage as Alvaro Morata, who replaced the injured Paulo Dybala in the first half, added two more.
Khedira was sent off late in the game although it was not immediately clear what the German had done wrong.
Juventus, knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday after squandering a two-goal lead, moved on to 70 points after the 19th win in their last 20 league games, with Napoli on 67.
"He deserved the record, he is an extraordinary goalkeeper and an extraordinary lad," Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said of Buffon.
Asked about Torino's disallowed goal, he added: "I didn't talk about the referee when we suffered in the Champions League and I won't do so now."
Juventus looked as if they might have a chance to go six points clear when Tomas Rincon gave Genoa a shock lead after 10 minutes at Napoli, the Venezuelan firing an unstoppable effort just under the bar.
Second-placed Napoli penned Genoa back into their penalty area and finally broke through six minutes into the second half when Higuain latched on to Elseid Hysaj's pass and slotted the ball past Perrin.
Napoli enjoyed let-offs as Alessio Cerci twice caught them out on the break before Higuain brought the house down with a superb effort which came from nowhere.
Marek Hamsik threaded the ball through the packed Genoa midfield and Higuain, despite being marked by three defenders, managed to collect the ball, turn and curl his shot in off the far post.
Substitute Omar El Kaddouri added a third in stoppage time.
Fiorentina's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League took a knock when they were held 0-0 at Frosinone, leaving them in fourth place with 55 points, five behind third-placed AS Roma.
AC Milan, who are sixth, and Lazio, in eighth, played out a 1-1 draw at San Siro which reflected their indifferent seasons. Marco Parolo headed Lazio ahead after nine minutes and Carlos Bacca replied for Milan six minutes later.
Carpi, playing in Serie A for the first time, moved out of the relegation zone when Kevin Lasagna's free kick gave them a 2-1 win at bottom side Verona.
The win took them ahead of Palermo on goal difference, with the two sides level on the head-to-head record.
Sampdoria are four points clear of the danger zone after a 1-0 home defeat by Chievo, with Riccardo Meggiorini scoring the only goal midway through the first half for the Flying Donkeys who also missed a penalty.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)Modified 20 Dec 2019, 06:40 IST