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In this work, we propose and experiment a 3-D face recognition approach capable of performing accurate face matching also in the case where just parts of probe scans are available. This is obtained through an original face representation and matching solution that first extracts keypoints of the 3-D depth image of the face and then measures how the face depth changes along facial curves connecting pairs of keypoints. Face similarity is evaluated by sparse comparison of facial curves defined across inlier pairs of matching keypoints between probe and gallery scans. In doing so, a statistical model is also proposed to associate facial curves of the gallery scans with a saliency measure so that curves that model characterizing traits of some subjects are distinguished from curves that are frequently observed in the face of many different subjects. Following recent related work, the recognition accuracy of the approach is experimented using two datasets, both comprising scans with missing parts: the Face Recognition Grand Challenge v2.0 dataset combined with the University of Notre Dame probes; the Gavab dataset.