MILAN, Dec 18 (Reuters) - A superb Cristiano Ronaldo header sent Juventus three points clear at the top of Serie A with a 2-1 victory at Sampdoria on Wednesday as Gianluigi Buffon matched the league appearance record.
Paulo Dybala’s exquisite volley put the champions in front before Gianluca Caprari levelled, but a remarkable leap and towering header from Ronaldo on the brink of halftime proved decisive.
Ronaldo was denied his second goal by the offside flag late on, before Samp scorer Caprari was sent off in stoppage time when he was shown a second yellow card.
It was a special night for Buffon as the veteran goalkeeper equalled Paolo Maldini’s record of 647 Serie A appearances and set a new Juventus Serie A appearance record of 479 games, one more than Alessandro Del Piero.
Juventus top the table with 42 points, although second-placed Inter (39) have a game in hand, while Sampdoria are 17th on 15 points. (Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)