Juventus go top as Gianluigi Buffon keeps clean sheet on 500th league appearance
Gianluigi Buffon celebrated 500 Serie A games for the Old Lady with a clean sheet in a tight game.
Juventus defeated Fiorentina 2-0 in Gianluigi Buffon’s 500th league match for the club to leapfrog Napoli at the top of Serie A.
The deadlock was broken by Federico Bernardeschi, who moved from the home side to Juventus in 2017, with a free-kick on the edge of the area 10 minutes into the second half.
And with Fiorentina pushing for an equaliser late on, Gonzalo Higuain’s strike sealed all three points for the Old Lady.
However, in a tight game which neither side dominated, a controversial intervention from VAR might well have denied Fiorentina a result.
The Viola looked to have been awarded a penalty by the referee 17 minutes into the game after Marco Benassi’s cross struck Giorgio Chiellini’s arm from close range.
Jordan Veretout stood over the penalty for a full three minutes, but he never got the chance to take it after the referee signalled an intervention from the video assistant referee, and awarded a free-kick to the visiting team for an offside infringement.
Matters were further complicated by the fact that a touch from Juventus defender Alex Sandro suggested the Fiorentina player in question was in fact onside when receiving the ball.
The home side continued to create their own chances, however, and Gil Dias came closest to putting them ahead when he struck the post after a fine break that Juventus failed to keep up with.
Bernardeschi made his former side rue their profligacy 10 minutes into the second half though, after winning and then converting a free-kick for Juve.
The 23-year-old was tripped just outside the penalty area and stepped up to whip the set-piece around the wall and past Marco Sportiello, low to the goalkeeper’s right.
Fiorentina continued to threaten a goal of their own, with Buffon called into action 70 minutes in, charging off his line to deny the home side with his feet.
And with five minutes of normal time remaining, Juventus again responded to the danger in devastating fashion.
Higuain found himself in plenty of space after picking the ball up on the edge of Fiorentina’s box, before whipping the ball across Sportiello and into the far corner to end the game as a contest.