Andrea Pirlo marked his 100th appearance in the Champions League with an exquisite free-kick for Juventus, his second in four days, as the Italian champions secured a dramatic victory over Olympiacos.
Pirlo became the 23rd player in history, and only the second Italian after Paolo Maldini, to reach a century of matches in the competition, and it was fitting that he was able to mark the occasion in vintage style.
The 35-year-old opened the scoring for Juventus in the 21st minute, his favourite number of course, with a set-piece of the highest order, that arrowed over the opposition wall and dipped into the top corner of the net.
Serie A record
Pirlo had scored a free-kick against Empoli at the weekend and, although it was hardly a patch on the one he netted on Tuesday, took him one step closer to Siniša Mihajlovic’s Serie A record. The stats are now 28-26 in favour of Mihajlovic.
It is a record that will surely fall to Pirlo before he lowers the curtain on his illustrious career, and it is unlikely he will end his playing days until the milestone is his. Pirlo states in his autobiography that it is a long-held ambition to surpass the Serbian.
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But more important, for now at least, will be the triumph Juventus were able to record over Olympiacos, having had to come from behind to record the 3-2 win in Turin.
Only three minutes after Pirlo’s sumptuous effort the visitors were back on terms courtesy of an Alberto Botia header from a corner. After an hour played the Greeks had the lead, Delvin Ndinga this time with the header.
Pirlo played a hand in a fortunate equaliser shortly afterwards, with his probing cross pinballing around the box and resulting in an own goal from Olympiacos goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez.
Paul Pogba, playing his 100th game for Juventus, then provided the timely intervention as he so often does, firing a low shot from the edge of the area to clinch what was a must win game in Group A.