M’Baye Niang bagged a brace and set up another as Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Milan swept Sampdoria aside 4-1.
Mihajlovic faced his old club and Vincenzo Montella went looking for his first win after replacing Walter Zenga. The hosts missed Mario Balotelli, Nigel de Jong, Andrea Bertolacci, Jeremy Menez and Diego Lopez, while Ervin Zukanovic sat out a ban with injured Joaquin Correa, Andrea Coda and Niklas Moisander. Milan moved to a 4-4-2 system with M’Baye Niang finally used as a striker.
A 1-0 result here in 2012 was Samp’s only victory in nine meetings with Milan, home and away.
In the opening minute there was a huge scare for 16-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma, who made a poor clearance under pressure from Eder and recovered with a tough save on Roberto Soriano.
Alessio Cerci had the ball in the back of the net after eight minutes, but was offside when following up a one-handed save on Carlos Bacca.
The pressure was building and Jack Bonaventura broke the deadlock, turning in at the back post when Niang flashed an assist across the six-yard box.
Moments later it was almost 2-0, as Niang’s angled drive shaved a coat of paint off the far upright, then Alessio Romagnoli of all people found himself clear on goal, but hesitated and was crowded out.
It was practically all Milan and Bonaventura volleyed over from another Niang assist, then Bacca drilled wide. Lorenzo De Silvestri hauled down Bonaventura for an inevitable penalty and his Milan teammates allowed 20-year-old Niang to take it, firing under the bar for his first ever Serie A goal in a Rossoneri jersey at the 36th appearance.
Niang was absolutely unstoppable on the night and Viviano palmed an extraordinary back-heel flick off the line. Moments later the French forward did complete his brace, pouncing on a poor clearance to strike.
Edgar Barreto and Roberto Soriano shots were charged down in the same move, but Samp remained largely ineffective.
Bonaventura’s cushioned volley found Viviano and his free kick whistled just past the near top corner. When Niang was finally exhausted, he was given a standing ovation by the San Siro crowd.
Luiz Adriano turned wide under pressure from six yards, but it was only a warning shot, as a minute later he made it 4-0. The Samp defence left him in acres of space to chest and volley a Cerci cross from 10 yards.
It was a complete capitulation from the Blucerchiati, who this season had never conceded more than two goals per game.
Carlos Bacca should’ve made it 5-0, but fired straight at Viviano when clear on goal and the ‘keeper scrambled back to stop it rolling over the line.
Moments later Andrea Poli clumsily blocked Eder in the box for a penalty and the Sampdoria striker converted their consolation goal.
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