Juventus gave iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon the perfect send off in his final appearance for the Old Lady, beating Verona 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium.

By 90Min
May 19, 2018

Juventus gave iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon the perfect send off in his final appearance for the Old Lady, beating Verona 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium.

Max Allegri opted to include each player who had been a part of Juve's seven consecutive Scudetti, meaning Claudio Marchisio, Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Stephan Lichtsteiner all started against the already relegated Verona side.

Chances were few and far between in the first ten minutes, with Juve moving the ball around nicely but failing to create anything clear cut, their only shots on goal coming from optimistic strikes from distance.

Buffon was called into action after 15 minutes, getting down well to parry a Mohamed Fares shot after the Algerian had cut inside onto his right foot. Mario Mandzukic would squander Juve's best chance in the opening 25 minutes, placing a free header straight at Nicolas in the Verona goal as the home side began to grow in influence.

Nicolas was then in the right place at the right time to prevent a wonderful opening goal for Juve ten minutes later, with Paulo Dybala teeing up Mandzukic for a volley on the edge of the area which the Brazilian goalkeeper tipped over the bar.

Despite their overall dominance, it was in large part a sloppy half for the Serie A champions elect, with misplaced passes and lack of midfield effort a running theme during the first 45 minutes.

Dybala would be denied by the bar just before half time. The Argentine's quick feet found him some space in the box, and his audacious chip beat Nicolas but came back off the woodwork. Whilst the effort itself was magical, it was out of place in a half that was largely uneventful with the sides going into the break on level terms.

Juventus came out for the second half in much more decisive fashion and they took the lead in the 48th minute thanks to Daniele Rugani. Juve played a corner short to Douglas Costa who cut onto his left foot, whipped a driven shot towards the bottom corner which Nicolas could only palm out directly to Rugani, who made no mistake from a couple of yards out and the goal gaping.

It took Juve just two minutes to double their lead, and it came directly from a free kick, awarded after Dybala had been chopped down on the edge of the box. Up stepped Miralem Pjanic to curl the perfect free kick over the wall and into the corner to give Juve a 2-0 lead.

Verona had serious penalty claims turned down on the hour mark, after it looked like Buffon had brought down Ryder Matos following some sloppy Juve passing at the back, but it would've taken an incredibly brave referee to give a penalty against Buffon on his final Juventus appearance.

Shortly after, the legendary Italian goalkeeper would be withdrawn for the last time, given a guard of honour by his teammates as he walked off the pitch. There were plenty of tears in the stands, as the entire stadium stood to give Buffon the ovation he deserves.

Verona managed to halve the deficit with just 15 minutes to go, Alessio Cerci getting ahead of Rugani to flick a low cross in via the back post, beating debutant goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio who had come on in place of Buffon. Not that Juve fans seemed to care though, they were too busy enjoying Buffon's personal lap of honour going on at the time. 

Juve had the cheek to interrupt the aforementioned lap of honour after 84 minutes, winning a penalty after Enrico Bearzotti was adjudged to have handled in the box. Stephan Lichtsteiner stepped up and went low to the goalkeeper's left, but Nicolas wouldn't let him have his farewell goal, palming the spot kick away.

The result was secondary to most Juve fans today, with the majority more focused on giving Buffon the perfect send off. Though the match wasn't a classic, it was the perfect stage to honour a man who will go down as one of the all time greats.

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)