SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 23 - 10 Feb 2019 (19.30 UK)
Milan 3 - 0 Cagliari
Ceppitelli og 12 (M), Paquetá 22 (M), Piatek 62 (M)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Lucas Paquetá and Krzysztof Piatek were both on target along with a bizarre own goal, as Milan crushed Cagliari to retain fourth place.

The pressure was on after Roma, Lazio and Atalanta all won, meaning anything less than a victory would see the Rossoneri drop from fourth place to seventh. Lucas Biglia was back on the bench for the first time since October, but Cristian Zapata, Pepe Reina, Mattia Caldara and Jack Bonaventura were still out of action. The Sardinians were hovering above the drop zone and made the trip without Cyril Thereau, Lucas Castro, Valter Birsa, Ragnar Klavan or Fabrizio Cacciatore.

Cagliari confirm their poor record at San Siro, as they haven’t won away at Milan since May 1997 and lost each of the last 14 Serie A visits.

Hakan Calhanoglu unleashed an early rocket that Alessio Cragno had to palm round the base of the near post. However, Cragno then parried a Suso cross-shot straight at his teammate, so it ricocheted off Luca Ceppitelli’s chest and into the net.

Franck Kessie drilled wide at the end of a promising counter-attack, but Milan doubled their lead when Davide Calabria whipped a great cross to the back post for Lucas Paquetá’s precise volley off the inside of the left boot. Naturally, his dedication was for the 10 teenage players who died in a fire at the Flamengo training ground this week, the same spot where he grew up.

Krzysztof Piatek went clear and tried to lob Cragno, but the goalkeeper stood his ground to get a hand to it. At the other end, Gianluigi Donnarumma celebrated his 150th competitive match in a Milan jersey with a decisive save on Joao Pedro’s glancing header, while Kessie flung himself at a Simone Padoin volley to charge it down in the box.

Calabria was having a strong performance and almost scored a stunner, as he flicked it over a defender with a ‘sombrero’ move and Cragno bravely rushed out to smother.

Milan seemed to rest on their lead in the second half and were almost made to pay, as Joao Pedro’s volley was denied first by another extraordinary Donnarumma save, then turned the follow-up on to the underside of the crossbar.

Moments later, the Rossoneri added their third and Piatek continued his remarkable scoring run. Cragno did all he could to parry from Calhanoglu, but Piatek kept his cool to steer the finish through defenders into the empty net. It was the ex-Genoa striker’s fourth goal in three games, but also his first against Cagliari, as they were one of the few sides he failed to beat while playing for the Grifone.

Cragno kept the scoreline down with saves on Kessie and Calhanoglu, while Cagliari gave Bulgarian Player of the Year Kiril Despodov his Serie A debut.

Suso somehow failed to make it 4-0, as he caught Ceppitelli in possession on the edge of the box only to fire wide of an open goal.

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Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria (Conti 65), Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paquetá; Suso, Piatek (Cutrone 65), Calhanoglu (Borini 77)
Cagliari: Cragno; Srna, Ceppitelli, Pisacane, Pellegrini; Faragò, Padoin (Deiola 68), Ionita (Despodov 76); Barella; Joao Pedro (Bradaric 80), Pavoletti
Ref: La Penna