Tuesday’s glut of fixtures involving Juventus players, eight in total across friendlies and World Cup Qualifying action in South America, yielded largely positive results for the club’s international stars with Dani Alves (Brazil) and Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina) recording important victories, Gianluigi Buffon equaling a European appearance record and Marios Lemina and Manduzkic finding in the net in friendlies.
International round-up: Goals for the Marios!
Beginning on the other side of the Atlantic, Higuain’s Argentina picked up a crucial 3-0 win, their first in four matches, in the South American section against Colombia, a result that saw the 2014 finalists leapfrog their opponents into fifth place, eight points behind leaders Brazil.
Juan Cuadrado, Colombia’s star man on the night, played the full 90 minutes in San Juan while Higuain replaced scorer Lucas Pratto after the break.
There was to be good news too for Dani Alves; Juventus’ number 23 receiving his 100th international cap as the Selecao swept aside Peru by two goals to nil to all but secure their place at Russia 2018 with six games to spare.
Gianluigi Buffon would go one better at the San Siro, the skipper joining fellow keeper Iker Casillas on 167 appearances to equal a European record in his country’s 0-0 draw with Germany before being replaced at the interval by Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma. In front of him, Daniele Rugani and Leonardo Bonucci contributed to a typically stern showing from the Azzurri.
The day’s two Juve goals came in Northern Ireland and Gabon, as Mario Mandzukic netted for the fifth time in four games for his national team to set up a 3-0 victory in Belfast while Mario Lemina’s strike secured a 1-1 draw against Comoros.
Patrice Evra on the other hand was an unused substitute in France’s 0-0 stalemate with Ivory Coast.