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Buffon and Cuadrado come good for Juve

A superlative display from Gianluigi Buffon, who saved a first-half penalty from Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette, set the stage for Juan Cuadrado to give Juventus the points late on.

2016/17 group stage highlights: Lyon 0-1 Juventus
2016/17 group stage highlights: Lyon 0-1 Juventus

A goal by substitute Juan Cuadrado and a series of great saves by Gianluigi Buffon gave ten-man Juventus an important 1-0 win at Lyon in UEFA Champions League Group H.

Juve had cause to be thankful to their goalkeeper in the first half as he dived to his left to block Alexandre Lacazette's low penalty after Leonardo Bonucci had dragged down Mouctar Diakhaby from a corner.

Although home custodian Anthony Lopes kept out Gonzalo Higuaín's header and Bonucci nodded wide, Lyon looked the more likely scorers and it took an incredible reflex stop from Buffon to repel Nabil Fekir's shot.

Juve then lost Mario Lemina to a second yellow card and Buffon again kept Lyon at bay when he rebuffed a close-range header from Corentin Tolisso. Lyon had had the majority of the pressure but, with 14 minutes left, Cuadrado drilled in from a tight angle to take the points to Turin.

Gianluigi Buffon saves Alexandre Lacazette's penalty
Gianluigi Buffon saves Alexandre Lacazette's penalty©AFP/Getty Images

Key player: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
"Even Superman is 'just' Clark Kent sometimes. Gigi, you're our superhero forever." The Juventus fans unveiled this banner during Saturday's game against Udinese after the Bianconeri captain had made a couple of mistakes in quick succession. Tonight there was no kryptonite for Buffon. The penalty he saved from Lacazette was nothing compared with his incredible stops to deny Fekir and Tolisso in the second half as he earned a third consecutive clean sheet in the competition.

Alves proving his worth
Despite dominating possession in the first 45 minutes, Juve struggled to create serious opportunities until the closing exchanges of the half. Higuaín and Bonucci's headers both came from crosses from the educated right foot of Dani Alves. On big nights like this, the former Barcelona man is showing why Juventus signed him last summer. His quality can be crucial in Juve's push for UEFA Champions League glory.

Lacazette lacking sharpness
Rustiness may have contributed to Lacazette's penalty miss, his first in all competitions since Gent in the UEFA Champions League in September 2015. Coach Bruno Génésio said pre-game that the French international could be lacking match fitness after only 25 minutes of action in five weeks because of a hamstring injury. A frustrated figure in the first half as he lacked service, Lacazette did not get a chance in open play even when Lyon had the numerical advantage and was replaced by Maxwel Cornet on 72 minutes.

Buffon reflects on 'great night'
Buffon reflects on 'great night'

Reporters' views

David Crossan, Lyon (@UEFAcomDavidC)
This was a major opportunity missed by Lyon and they were undone by a sucker punch. While Buffon was imperious in the Juventus goal, Lopes's micro-step to his right enabled Cuadrado's shot to beat him at the near post. France coach Didier Deschamps, watching from the stands, likes to say that matches are decided on "small details" and this certainly was one. Lacazette's spot kick was another major blow and Lyon will feel they didn't create enough following Lemina's red card. Their qualification hopes have been badly damaged, though there was encouragement in Diakhaby's UEFA Champions League debut and the attitude of the home side.

Paolo Menicucci, Juventus (@UEFAcomPaoloM)
Juventus are still missing something in terms of creativity and precision in the final third but Massimiliano Allegri can definitely be happy with the mentality of his team. The Bianconeri had a tremendous approach to the match, trying to impose their game from start. And when they went down to ten men, they did not panic but continued to play with the courage that only top European outfits have.

©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images