- Associated Press - Sunday, March 20, 2016

TURIN, Italy (AP) - Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon set a Serie A record on Sunday for not conceding a goal, going 974 consecutive minutes before he was finally beaten - by a penalty kick.

Buffon broke the 22-year-old record in the fourth minute of Juventus’ league match against local rival Torino on Sunday when he reached 930 minutes.

“The lion’s share of the credit should go to the guys in front of me, right from our forwards who work so hard, all the way back to our defense which is made up of some of the world’s best defenders,” Buffon said.

“I began thinking that this record was possible after we beat Atalanta, but some people were even asking me about it after three or four consecutive clean sheets! In my career I had never imagined that I would have a personal record like this. And that’s good, because the more you think of the group, of the team, the more life rewards you as an individual too.”

Buffon also put a lengthy post on Facebook, thanking his teammates and coach Massimiliano Allegri with a sentence of praise for each of them individually.



The previous record was held by Sebastiano Rossi, who kept a clean sheet for 929 consecutive minutes for AC Milan from Dec. 12, 1993, to Feb. 27, 1994, beating the previous mark set by former Juventus goalkeeper Dino Zoff in 1972-73 by 26 minutes.

“I congratulate you, enjoy these moments,” Rossi said in a televised link-up with Buffon after the match. “I’m happy that this record is going to you, that it’s going to Italian hands.”

Forty four minutes after overtaking Rossi’s record, Buffon finally conceded a goal - a 48th-minute penalty converted by Andrea Belotti. Juventus won the match 4-1 with goals from Paul Pogba, Sami Khedira and a brace from Alvaro Morata.

“The record is deserved, especially because of the career Gigi has had,” Allegri said. “Apart from being an extraordinary man he is also an extraordinary person.”

The 38-year-old Buffon had previously conceded just one league goal in 2016, Antonio Cassano’s strike for Sampdoria.

Buffon, who was a crucial part of Italy’s World Cup winning side in 2006, has been at Juventus since 2001.

He has helped Juventus to an Italian Cup and eight Serie A titles, 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.

He also won the UEFA Cup and Italian Cup at Parma.

___

(This story has been corrected over the timing of Torino’s goal.)

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