Thursday January 20 2011
Coppa: Cassano's Milan see off Bari

Antonio Cassano made his first start for Milan, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexander Merkel and Robinho got the goals to beat Bari 3-0 in the Coppa Italia.

The striker had only ever featured as a substitute in official games, but was given his full debut for the Rossoneri against his hometown club. He'll face his old club Sampdoria in the quarter-finals next week.

Thiago Silva was out with a stomach bug, while goalkeeper Flavio Roma made his first appearance 18 months after joining Milan.

Nacho Castillo had the first chance, but scuffed his shot, then Daniele Padelli flapped a Zlatan Ibrahimovic half-volley on the turn.

The front three combined beautifully and Padelli spilled another Ibra shot, but recovered to smother at Robinho's feet.

The goal was in the air and Ibrahimovic got it on the counter sparked by Robinho, taking on Glik to curl across Padelli into the far top corner.

Padelli flew across the face of goal to palm a Robinho snapshot round the post, while at the other end Massimo Donati drilled wide.

It was 2-0 in first half stoppages when Cassano knocked on a cross for Robinho, who pulled back for Alexander Merkel's daisy-cutter. However, Bari were livid and wanted play stopped for a push.

It should've been 2-1 moments later, but ex-Milan striker Vitalii Kutuzov incredibly ballooned over the bar from six yards.

After the restart Castillo thought he had got one back when Alessandro Parisi threaded through for the former Fiorentina forward to tap in, but he was flagged offside.

A delightful Ibrahimovic backheel flick set up Cassano, but the ex-Sampdoria star was offside. The Swede then threaded through for Robinho to drill wide, while Ignazio Abate's strong run and angled drive was charged down.

The third goal was scored by Robinho, who sprung the offside trap on a Merkel through ball to fire past the ‘keeper from close range.

Andrea Pirlo made his comeback for the first game of 2011, but needed treatment again after a knock to the knee. As all the substitutions had been completed, sat back on the bench after less than 20 minutes on the field.

Milan go on to play Sampdoria in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.

Milan 3-0 Bari

Scorers: Ibrahimovic 19 (M), Merkel 45 (M), Robinho 64 (M)

Milan: Roma; Oddo, Nesta, Yepes, Antonini; Gattuso (Abate 46), Ambrosini, Merkel (Pato 71); Robinho; Ibrahimovic, Cassano (Pirlo 66)

Bari: Padelli; Raggi, Rossi, Glik (Crimi 70), Parisi; Alvarez, Pulzetti (A Masiello 46), Donati, Romero; Kutuzov (Caputo 75), Castillo

Ref: Ciampi