Friday, January 19, 2018

Lyon 0 Juventus 1: Buffon masterclass and Cuadrado rocket the difference

SoccerNews in Serie A 18 Oct 2016


Gianluigi Buffon produced a goalkeeping masterclass before Juan Cuadrado’s stunner stole 10-man Juventus a 1-0 win against Lyon in the Champions League.

Buffon had made errors in his previous two games for club and country which resulted in goals, but returned to his supreme best at the Parc OL to keep a hard-earned clean sheet.

The 38-year-old spurned Alexandre Lacazette from the penalty spot before producing a reflex save of the highest quality to keep Nabil Fekir’s deflected strike out.

Mario Lemina was sent off shortly after that stop to tilt the balance of play firmly in the hosts’ favour, but again Buffon stood in their way.

And substitute Cuadrado completed the smash and grab in fitting style, slamming home a mesmeric goal worthy of following his captain’s fine earlier example.

Victory keeps Massimiliano Allegri’s side top of Group H and a win over Lyon at their fortress Juventus Stadium next time out will secure progression to the last 16.

With both sides deploying three-man defences, space to attack was at a premium and chances were similarly sparse.

Gonzalo Higuain had Juve’s best opportunity of the opening half, latching onto Alex Sandro’s throughball, but Anthony Lopes saved easily as the striker blasted goalwards from an acute angle.

Roared on by ceaseless chanting from their home fans, Lyon picked up the pace and had the chance to move ahead when Leonardo Bonucci hauled down Mouctar Diakhaby as a corner arrived, but Buffon spurned Lacazette from the spot low to his left.

Having survived that scare, Juve should have been ahead themselves at the break, but Lopes produced a stunning save to repel Higuain’s firm header before Bonucci nodded wide from six yards with the last touch of the first half.

Buffon once again left Lyon baffled just five minutes after the interval, throwing out his right hand to sensationally repel Fekir as Lyon broke away at pace and another counter-attack led to Lemina hauling down the France international and earning a second yellow card.

Corentin Tolisso was next to be denied as he headed towards goal from inside the six-yard box, but that too was not enough to beat a sprawling Buffon.

And then, Juve struck with 14 minutes to play, Cuadrado tricking his way into the right channel and unleashing a rocket into Lopes’ top-left corner as the goalkeeper anticipated a cross.

Fittingly, it was Buffon who had the final say, equal to substitute Maxime Gonalons’ powerful effort as any detractors were issued a reminder of the great veteran’s enduring brilliance.


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