Buf­fon reaches land­mark

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

GIANLUIGI BUF­FON earned a Euro­pean record-equalling 167th cap as Italy played out a goal­less friendly draw with their Euro 2016 quar­ter­fi­nal tor­men­tors Ger­many in Mi­lan yes­ter­day.

The 38-year-old Buf­fon, who made his Italy de­but in 1997, is now level with re­tired Spain leg­end and fel­low goal­keeper Iker Casil­las.

Al­though Buf­fon is now just 17 be­hind world record-holder Ahmed Has­san of Eg­pyt (184), the ap­pear­ance of AC Mi­lan’s Gianluigi Don­narumma for a more pos­i­tive sec­ond half was a re­minder that re­tire­ment may not be too far off.

Host­ing Ger­many just four months af­ter a dra­matic penalty shoot-out de­feat ended their Euro 2016 hopes in Bordeaux, Italy were look­ing to end their three-game win­less streak against the world cham­pi­ons.

But the hosts failed to trans­form a promis­ing fin­ish to the game into a win, Torino striker An­drea Belotti no­tably hit­ting the up­right late on.

“We were fac­ing the world cham­pi­ons and gave very lit­tle away,” said Italy coach Gi­ampiero Ven­tura.

“Apart from hit­ting the post, we had four or five sit­u­a­tions that we could have done bet­ter with.”

Like Ven­tura, Ger­many boss Joachim Low has one eye on the fu­ture and made sev­eral changes to his es­tab­lished start­ing line-up. By the end, he was largely happy with their per­for­mance.

“It was a good and im­por­tant re­sult for us, es­pe­cially our young play­ers,” he said. – AFP

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