A fantastic return to San Siro. On matchday two in Serie A, AC Milan ran out comfortable 4-1 winners against Cagliari in their first home match of the season. It was a perfect evening, one which the team got to enjoy together with the Rossoneri fans (almost 32,000 were in attendance), whose support was unwavering. The atmosphere at the stadium was magnificent, as was the first-half performance produced by Coach Pioli’s men: the Rossoneri scored four goals in the opening 45 minutes, putting the game to bed in the process. After the restart, it was all about managing the result. The overall team display was excellent, with the Diavolo remaining compact and always posing an attacking threat. There were some notable individual performances too, including from Giroud, who bagged a brace, Tonali, who, like the Frenchman, scored his first official goal in an AC Milan shirt, and Díaz, who is playing an increasingly prominent role. A night to remember.
Today’s victory means that the Rossoneri have won both of their opening two fixtures and therefore currently sit on maximum points alongside Lazio, Inter, Roma and Napoli in the table. It represents the best possible start to the season as the first international break of the campaign begins. While various players will head off to play for their national teams, those who remain at Milanello will continue to work calmly so that further improvements can be made. Once the upcoming international fixtures are over, the Diavolo will return to action on the weekend of 11-12 September, when they’ll face Lazio at San Siro. Well done, lads!
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN V CAGLIARI
With the game having kicked off, Giroud threatened after just two minutes, heading Saelemaekers’s cross over the bar. The former was involved in a huge AC Milan chance after nine minutes, when, following the Frenchman’s wonderful back-heel, Leão hesitated for a moment too long, thus allowing Carboni to get back and make a decisive intervention. The Rossoneri then took the lead in the twelfth minute, with Tonali firing a fantastic free kick over the wall and into the near top corner. The visitors, however, responded immediately: with 15 minutes on the clock, Deiola guided home a header from João Pedro’s ball over the top. It was then the Rossoneri’s turn to react: just two minutes later, Leão’s shot deflected off Díaz, wrong footed Radunović and ended in the net. In the 24th minute, Coach Pioli’s men scored their third of the night, with Giroud producing an excellent first-time finish from Díaz’s pass on the counter. There was a scare in the 36th minute, when a Cagliari corner found its way to Pavoletti, who shot wide from 14 yards out. Just before half-time, the Diavolo netted a fourth: Strootman was penalised for handball in the box following a VAR review (the referee had initially awarded a free kick) and Giroud stepped up to convert from the penalty spot, thus scoring his second of the match.
The same 22 players took to the pitch at the start of the second half, with the Diavolo mostly concerned with managing possession and their energy levels. There were fewer chances, also because Cagliari were better after the restart. In the 52nd minute, an onrushing Saelemaekers failed to keep the ball down, while Pavoletti also missed the target three minutes later. In the 67th minute, Leão burst into the area and looked to roll the ball across for Giroud, but Godín got a crucial touch to the ball to put it behind for a corner. There were a few attempts as the match drew to an end. After 79 minutes, Maignan was called into action, punching Lykogiannis’s dangerous near-post free kick away to safety. Then, shortly afterwards, Kjær got in the way of Pavoletti’s strike, while Lykogiannis was unable to direct the ball towards goal from the resulting corner. The final chance of the game fell to Rebić, who blasted just over the bar from just outside the box in the 87th minute.
AC MILAN 4-1 CAGLIARI
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kjær, Tomori, Hernández; Tonali (68' Bennacer), Krunić; Saelemaekers (68' Florenzi), Díaz (85' Maldini), Leão (68' Rebić); Giroud (91' Castillejo). Subs: Plizzari, Tătărușanu; Ballo-Touré, Gabbia, Kalulu, Romagnoli. Coach: Pioli.
CAGLIARI (3-5-2): Radunović; Ceppitelli (64' Zappa), Godín, Carboni; Nández, Marin, Strootman (75' Farias), Deiola (85' Pereiro), Dalbert (75' Lykogiannis); João Pedro, Pavoletti (85' Céter). Subs: Aresti, Fusco; Altare, Walukiewicz; Grassi, Oliva. Coach: Semplici.
Referee: Marco Serra from Torino.
Goals: 12' Tonali (M), 15' Deiola (C), 17' Leão (M), 24' and 43' pen. Giroud (M).
Booked: 5' Dalbert (C), 38' Deiola (C), 40' Strootman (C), 62' Godín (C), 73' Díaz (M), 84' Nández (C).
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