Buffon set to break 22-year-old record in derby at Torino
Spectators at Stadio Olimpico do Torino probably won’t have to wait long on Sunday to see one of Serie A’s great records fall.
If home team Torino can’t score against city rival Juventus in the first three minutes, then goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will equal Sebastiano Rossi’s 22-year-old record of consecutive minutes without conceding a goal.
One minute later, the record will be all Buffon’s.
He hasn’t let in a goal for 926 minutes.
Rossi kept a clean sheet for 929 minutes for AC Milan from Dec. 12, 1993 to Feb. 27, 1994, beating the previous mark set by former Juventus goalie Dino Zoff in 1972-73 by 26 minutes.
“I’m delighted for Gigi,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said after Buffon beat Zoff’s mark last week in a 1-0 victory over Sassuolo. “If we manage not to concede in the first three minutes of the derby, it will be a record, and the crowning of an extraordinary career.”
Extraordinary is right. The 38-year-old Buffon has won almost everything in football — including the World Cup in 2006, when he conceded just two goals in seven matches.
Buffon joined Juventus in 2001 from Parma, where he won the UEFA Cup and Italian Cup, and swiftly started adding to his trophy cabinet. He won another Italian Cup and eight Serie As, although two were revoked in a match-fixing scandal which saw Juventus demoted to the second division.
Buffon was one of the stars who decided to remain with the club, and helped Juventus bounce straight back up as Serie B champion.
One big prize he doesn’t have is a Champions League winner’s medal. In his time, Juventus has lost in the final twice, including last season.
Despite the intense rivalry between Torino and Juventus, the home supporters will more than likely roundly applaud Buffon if, as expected, he breaks Rossi’s record in the Derby della Mole.
Victory would move Juventus six points clear at the top of the table, with second-place Napoli kicking off against Genoa three hours later.
Also on Sunday, it’s: Atalanta vs. Bologna, Frosinone vs. Fiorentina; Sampdoria vs. Chievo Verona; Sassuolo vs. Udinese; Hellas Verona vs. Carpi; and AC Milan vs. Lazio.
Roma hosts Inter Milan on Saturday in a direct battle for third place and the final Champions League spot, shortly after relegation-threatened Palermo visits Empoli.
Here are some things to know about Serie A this weekend:
Another record for Buffon will go some way to helping Juventus get over the disappointment of Wednesday’s Champions League exit.
Juventus surprisingly led 2-0 at Bayern Munich at halftime, but Robert Lewandowski scored in the 73rd and Thomas Mueller equalized in injury time before two extra time goals for the German side secured a 6-4 victory on aggregate.
“We are very disappointed,” Allegri said, “but we have to put the disappointment and bitterness to one side and throw ourselves back into the title race, which is still open.”
EYE ON THE SCOREBOARD
Fiorentina will cast keen eyes on Roma’s match against Inter Milan, as it holds Champions League aspirations of its own.
Paulo Sousa’s side is above Inter after winning both of their matches.
Both teams are five points behind third-place Roma.
Fiorentina hosts Frosinone, which is equally desperate for points to get out of the relegation zone — especially after losing to another side in the bottom three last week, Carpi.
Frosinone is a point behind 17th-placed Palermo, with Carpi a point further back and facing another relegation six-pointer against bottom club Verona.
DE ROSSI GESTURE
Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi went up to Florence midweek for the funeral of former Italy kitman Pietro Lombardi, who died at 92.
And De Rossi returned without a valuable souvenir, his World Cup winner’s medal. He left the medal he won with Italy in 2006 inside Lombardi’s coffin, in a show of affection and respect.