Football: Juventus stay top of Serie A as Gianluigi Buffon goes 926 minutes unbeaten

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.PHOTO: EPA

MILAN (AFP) - Gianluigi Buffon's impressive unbeaten run in Serie A gave Juventus a second reason to celebrate on Friday as the champions opened up a six-point lead on title rivals Napoli with a 1-0 win over Sassuolo.

Paulo Dybala's superb 36th-minute strike made the difference in Turin as Juve, bidding for a record-equalling fifth consecutive crown, took their unbeaten run to 19 games to keep the pressure on Napoli ahead of their trip to Palermo on Sunday.

Reputed giant-killers Sassuolo were unbeaten since a 2-0 home defeat by Roma in early February, Eusebio di Francesco's men beating Lazio and AC Milan amid a recent three-game winning run.

But their winning streak came to an end when Dybala latched on to Juan Cuadrado's well-worked delivery, controlled on the right side of the area and beat Andrea Consigli at the goalkeeper's far post with a superb curling drive.

Dybala told Sky Sport: "In the first half of the season, we were given up for dead, but now we're here at the top, in the Italian Cup final (against AC Milan) and travel to Bayern Munich next week."

When Juve travel to the Allianz Arena looking to build on a shaky 2-2 draw from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, they will be hoping Buffon remains impervious.

The Italy veteran started the game unbeaten over 836 minutes and, having surpassed the legendary Dino Zoff's tally of 903 minutes in the 67th minute, he went on to finish on 926 minutes unbeaten, just three behind the 929-minute record set by Sebastiano Rossi with AC Milan in 1994.

"This win was crucial for our campaign, and for the record of Buffon who totally deserves it," said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri.