SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 21 - 26 Jan 2014 (14.00 UK)
Cagliari 1 - 2 Milan
Sau 28 (C), Balotelli 87 (M), Pazzini 89 (M)
Stadio Sant'Elia

Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini scored twice in the last three minutes to give Milan a 2-1 victory in Cagliari.

The Rossoneri had mixed results under Clarence Seedorf, beating Verona 1-0 and going out of the Coppa Italia to Udinese on Wednesday. Marco Amelia made his first Serie A appearance of the season, as Christian Abbiati and Andrea Poli were ruled out by flu with Cristian Zapata and Stephan El Shaarawy injured. Cagliari had Mauricio Pinilla after his two-match ban was halved on appeal, but Victor Ibarbo was still suspended with Nene injured.

It was very windy and this affected the flight of the ball, so within 90 seconds a wayward clearance came back to Marco Sau and Amelia had to smother at his feet. At the other end, Robinho fired just over the bar.

Vlada Avramov got a fingertip to anticipate Mario Balotelli at the near post and beat away another attempt from the striker, but Adil Rami’s diving header risked an own goal.

Avramov was under pressure early on and performed another crucial save on Keisuke Honda, but Cagliari took the lead.

Amelia’s awful clearance was put back into the middle by Pinilla, where Marco Sau kept his cool to dribble both Daniele Bonera and the goalkeeper, depositing into an empty net.

Milan struggled to mount a fightback, as Riccardo Montolivo ballooned over from distance, but Honda’s header from a Mattia De Sciglio cross was desperately parried from point-blank range.

Bonera hit an incredible fresh-air clearance in the box, but was fortunate Sau didn’t make the most of it. The errors continued after the break, as Balotelli blasted into the stands, Honda fired just over after combining with Robinho and Giampaolo Pazzini made his comeback from injury.

Honda’s strike was charged down in the box and Balotelli fired straight at Avramov. Cagliari went close to doubling their lead, as Pinilla’s strike flashed across Amelia to skim the back post.

It was a late siege from the Rossoneri and it finally paid off at the 87th minute when Balotelli curled a free kick over the wall to leave Avramov rooted to the spot.

Milan tend to finish games strong and Cagliari concede a great deal in the final stages, which was proved when the visitors turned the match around completely. Honda put the corner in for Giampaolo Pazzini’s precise volleyed flick. It was Pazzo's first Serie A goal in nine months and a perfect way to mark his return from injury.


Cagliari: Avramov; Pisano, Rossettini, Astori, Murru; Dessena, Conti, Ekdal (Eriksson 76); Cossu (Ibraimi 91); Sau (Cabrera 69), Pinilla
Milan: Amelia; De Sciglio, Rami, Bonera, Emanuelson (Abate 77); De Jong (Muntari 69), Montolivo; Honda, Kaka, Robinho (Pazzini 60); Balotelli
Ref: Doveri