Gianluigi Buffon breaks Serie A record as Juventus ease past Torino
When it comes to Serie A, Juventus are unstoppable and the team who boast the skill, desire and mentality to overcome all and lift the trophy. They also possess one of the greatest goalkeepers to have ever played the game; Gianluigi Buffon.
The iconic Italy goalkeeper was finally beaten in Sunday's 4-1 win over Torino but not before he had set a new Serie A record without conceding a goal.
Defeating Torino after suffering a heart wrenching midweek defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, the Bianconeri may have been made to suffer at certain moments but possessed the maturity and talent to prevail.
Juventus exploited Torino's fear and Paul Pogba scored the first goal of the game from a free-kick. The traumatised home side's backline then parted to allow Sami Khedira, who was later sent off, to dribble right through and score an exquisite second, underlining Juve's dominance.
Massimiliano Allegri's men, winners of 19 out of the past 20 Serie A matches, were barely forced to try yet they dominated a derby that ought to have been more challenging.
Acknowledging the ease with which the Bianconeri were scoring, Giampiero Ventura did just enough at half time to reinvigorate a Torino side that had mentally collapsed after Pogba's goal. Sending out a much more determined team in the second half, one that focused on its attacking potential as opposed to its weak defence, it took the team only three minutes to earn a penalty and Andrea Belotti beat Buffon, who earlier in the match had overtaken Sebastiano Rossi's previous record of not conceding in 929 Serie A minutes for AC Milan, set in the 1993-94 season.
Playing with a little more physicality, Maxi Lopez did well to apply pressure on Juve's defence and attempt to hurt the players who had expended so much energy during the week. Scoring a second half goal that was incorrectly ruled offside, the Granata matched Juve's efforts. However, it is during these moments that leaders regain control of the team.
Boasting an impeccable Pogba and a beautifully skilled Alvaro Morata, the two combined to score when Juventus were struggling to knock the wind out of Torino's sails. Despite the desire of the home side, the Old Lady's efficiency, coupled with superior skill, made the difference and Morata's double on 63 and 76 minutes sealed an easy win.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 8 -- The veteran set an all-time new Serie A record of 974 minutes unbeaten and no one deserves the honour more. A tremendous goalkeeper and an effective leader, he always organises his defence well. Couldn't do much for the penalty.
DF Daniele Rugani, 7 -- Did well to clear a great chance from the line to protect Buffon, the youngster should be proud of his performance. Mature and alert, his clearances and interceptions ensured defensive security.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 6 -- Lost his composure again and looked troubled often. Bailed out by his partners in defence but he is always determined.
DF Andrea Barzagli, 7 -- Wonderful and in control, as usual. Secure and a player who always uses his intelligence to defend. Battled against Maxi Lopez and ensured Buffon's security.
MF Stephan Lichtsteiner, 5 -- A little poor going forward, he failed to penetrate effectively to help a hapless Mario Mandzukic. Still attentive to his defensive duties.
MF Sami Khedira, 7 -- Good running off the ball and good passes. Running beautifully straight through to tear the home side defence open, he scored Juve's fine second. Awarded one point fewer for a silly sending off towards the end.
MF Mario Lemina, 6 -- A tidy game in midfield in which he often recovered possession cleanly and distributed play well. Hardly thrilling.
MF Paul Pogba, 8 -- A wonderful performance from the Frenchman, who not only scored from a terrific free kick but displayed his immense quality to assist the second. Attentive, his vision allowed him to deliver another assist for Juve's fourth. When he plays like this, it's difficult to see how a team can cope without him.
MF Alex Sandro, 6 -- When it comes to taking players on, few are as good as the wing-back. While the penalty decision was controversial, Sandro must be more composed and less reckless at times.
FW Paulo Dybala, 7 -- Worked hard, falling deep to reclaim possession and making incisive runs forward. Suffered from injury and had to be taken off.
FW Mario Mandzukic, 5 -- A poor performance from the Croatian. Gave possession away too cheaply while his forward play was ineffective.
FW Alvaro Morata, 8 -- Another brilliant performance from the Spaniard, who possesses beautiful skill. So intelligent with his runs and positioning, he scored a fine brace.
MF Juan Cuadrado, 5 -- Ineffective going forward, his arrival made no impact on the game.
FW Simone Zaza, N/R -- Barely given any time to make an impact.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.