Sampdoria caused a huge upset with a 1-0 victory at San Siro to silence Milan, as Kevin-Prince Boateng hit the woodwork in stoppages.
The Genoa side had lost its last three visits 3-0, but this proved to be their first win here since a 2-1 in March 2008 and inevitably the home stars were jeered off the field.
The Rossoneri have been revolutionised this summer with the departure of top stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Antonio Cassano, Alessandro Nesta and Clarence Seedorf. Alexandre Pato, Ignazio Abate and Massimo Ambrosini were injured for this match, but new arrival Pazzini started from the bench.
Maxi Lopez returned to face his former club, but a back problem meant he wasn’t fit to start in Ciro Ferrara’s 4-3-3 line-up. Samp were back in Serie A after a year in the wilderness, albeit starting from -1 due to the betting scandal, but missing the suspended Nicola Pozzi and goalkeeper Da Costa. Milan fans sent a message to Cassano with a large banner in the stands that read: ‘Ingrate.’
There was an early scare after 10 minutes when Eder robbed Daniele Bonera down the left, but the defender got back just in time to block the shot.
A weak Robinho effort was easily smothered and penalty appeals were waved away, as the ball bounced on to Daniele Gastaldello’s arm. Robinho’s free kick was deflected wide and Mario Yepes nodded over the bar.
Before the break Christian Abbiati was tested by a deflected Andrea Costa effort and Eder snapshot.
After the restart a Robinho cross-shot landed on the roof of the net and he went for goal moments later, the curler well plucked out of the air by Argentina’s international goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Pazzini was given his Milan debut after 56 minutes, replacing El Shaarawy to face one of his former clubs.
However, it was Sampdoria who opened the scoring moments later. A corner was whipped in for defender Costa’s towering header from six yards that left Abbiati rooted to the spot.
Milan were convinced they had equalised on 64 minutes with a similar move, as the corner found Yepes for a bullet header, but this time Romero incredibly managed to parry from point-blank range on to the inside of the post and keep his wits about him to grab the ricochet. It was a remarkable save from Argentina’s Number 1.
Mathieu Flamini flicked another corner off target and a scuffle broke out when Luca Antonini accused Eder of time-wasting by delaying his substitution.
Boateng hit a powerful but very central effort at Romero, while Kevin Constant’s angled drive was again straight at the goalkeeper from six yards.
In the final minute Milan had a great chance to snatch a point with Boateng’s shot deflected on the edge of the box to loop over Romero, but Samp were saved by the woodwork! The Ghanaian international again threatened in stoppages, but his header was well held, while Flamini's shot was cleared off the line by Gastaldello with the last kick of the game.