Buffon breaks Serie A appearances record as Juve move seven points clear

Gianluigi Buffon set a new Serie A appearances record on Saturday as Juventus beat Torino 4-1 in the Turin derby to move seven points clear at the top of the table.

The 42-year-old goalkeeper passed the previous record of 647 appearances he jointly held with AC Milan great Paolo Maldini as he started the game at the Allianz Stadium.

"Maybe... He definitely won't beat the record for scoring goals, though," coach Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sport Italia when asked if Buffon could still play the 35 games he needs to equal Alessandro Del Piero's overall record total of Juventus appearances.

Cristiano Ronaldo was among the scorers, becoming the first Juve player to score 25 Serie A goals in a season in 59 years, as Sarri's men moved further clear of second-placed Lazio, who host in-form AC Milan later on Saturday.

"We were a bit chaotic at the start of the second half, but when fatigue set in, that's when our quality emerged," added Sarri.

Buffon, who spent last season at French club Paris Saint-Germain before rejoining Juve this term, signed a one-year contract extension earlier this week.

It was the eighth Serie A appearance this campaign for Buffon, with Polish international Wojciech Szczesny usually the defending champions' number one.

The record comes 25 years after Buffon made his Serie A debut for Parma and 19 years after he first signed for Juventus.

- Ronaldo breaks free-kick duck -

The hosts wasted little time in taking the lead as Paulo Dybala put them ahead in the third minute with an excellent individual goal, collecting Juan Cuadrado's pass before jinking past two defenders and firing a left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

The advantage was doubled just before the half-hour mark as Ronaldo charged forward before laying the ball off for Cuadrado to drill a low drive into the bottom corner.

Torino gave themselves hope when Andrea Belotti scored a penalty past Buffon in the sixth minute of first-half injury-time.

Simone Verdi was denied an equaliser early in the second half by the linesman's flag, but Ronaldo put the game to bed in the 61st minute with a brilliant free-kick.

It was the first time the five-time Ballon d'Or winner had scored a free-kick in Serie A and it was his 25th league goal of the campaign, making the Portuguese the first Juventus player to achieve that feat since Omar Sivori in the 1960-61 season.

"I really needed that free-kick goal so I could get some confidence back," Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia, after scoring his first direct free-kick at the 43rd attempt for Juve.

"We knew it would be a difficult game, but we worked hard, won and are now putting pressure on Lazio. We achieved the objective today."

Juve were not done there and made it four with three minutes remaining as Torino defender Koffi Djidji put through his own net.

Torino remain 15th in the table, six points above the relegation zone with eight matches to play.

Free-scoring Sassuolo moved up to ninth with a 4-2 victory over relegation-threatened Lecce, who stayed 18th and one point adrift of safety after a sixth straight league defeat.

Lecce have conceded 25 goals in those six losses, while Sassuolo have netted 14 times in five matches since Serie A's return following the coronavirus lockdown.

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