Milan got their first Serie A win of the campaign and Robinho broke his goal drought in a hard-fought win over Cagliari.
Alessandro Matri was on the bench against his former club, having completed the transfer from Juventus on Friday. With Kevin-Prince Boateng and Luca Antonini sold this week, the Rossoneri were under pressure to get points after losing their opener 2-1 to Verona. Cagliari won their first game and Coach Diego Lopez was a familiar face, having played in Massimiliano Allegri’s Sardinian side for two years.
The injury list included Giampaolo Pazzini, Daniele Bonera, Riccardo Saponara, Gabriel, Jherson Vergara and Bakaye Traore, but Robinho was surprisingly picked instead of Stephan El Shaarawy. Cagliari also benched Davide Astori again, fuelling reports he’ll move on before the transfer deadline.
Robinho scored his first goal of the season, as he was relatively unmarked from nine yards to turn in Mario Balotelli’s cross from the right, which had squirmed past both Riccardo Montolivo and Sulley Ali Muntari. It was the Brazilian’s first Serie A goal of 2013.
Robinho threatened a second with his strike that flashed across the face of goal and they doubled their advantage with Philippe Mexes.
The defender was in the right place to follow-up a parried Balotelli effort, scissor-kicking it in from eight yards.
However, Cagliari immediately got back into the match at San Siro when Marco Sau curled a splendid solo effort into the far top corner from the edge of the box.
Balotelli’s long-range free kick whistled just wide and after the restart a crucial Ignazio Abate sliding tackle blocked Radja Nainggolan’s shot when clear on goal.
Balotelli restored the two-goal cushion when a poor clearance fell to him and he smacked it powerfully under the bar from nine yards.
Matri came on to make his Milan debut for the final 24 minutes at San Siro, though he had grown up in their youth academy.
Sau could’ve put Cagliari back into it when Cristian Zapata gave the ball away to Albin Ekdal, but he fired straight at Abbiati and then collapsed clutching the back of his thigh.