Ivorian international Franck Kessié was able to help the Rossoneri wrestle back a one goal deficit to defeat their Sardinian rivals at the Sardegna Arena.
Nicolo Barella stunned the visitors when his dribbling effort caught Gianluigi Donnarumma off guard to open the scoring for I Rossoblu. Gennaro Gattuso’s men were sparked to life though, as they immediately went on the offensive and won a penalty after Nikola Kalinic was brought down inside the six-yard box. Kessie was able to dispatch the spot-kick and tie the game as half-time drew nearer.
However, Milan were not content with the game just being tied at the interval as Kessie got on the end of a brilliant knock down from Kalinic to give the Rossoneri the lead.
The second half turned into a physical contest as both sides chased the points and the cards flew out thick and fast. First, Ricardo Rodriguez was sent off with 10 minutes to spare and the pressure was on the home side to fend off the surging Sardinian outfit. It was not to be for Cagliari, as soon after, Barella was dismissed after receiving a second-yellow and Milan were able to hang on for a crucial three points.
Kessie brace enough to push Milan back into European hunt
They were two scrappy goals, but it means a four place jump up the table thanks to Milan’s trusty box-to-box midfielder.
In a relatively tough season for the club, Kessie has been one of their few and far between sparks. After bursting onto the scene last season for Atalanta, the Ivorian international has started each game for Milan this season in the league and has been a constant fixture among their best, week in and week out.
After his side fell behind, he calmly slotted home the equaliser before being in the right place to bustle home the goal which put Milan back into seventh on the table and a point behind sixth placed Sampdoria.
Throughout the game, his continual work-rate and never say die attitude was key as his teammates were able to grind out the victory with 10 men. Kessie is going to be key if Milan are to make a late season push and end 2017-18 on a high after a tumultuous opening half of to their campaign.
Cagliari huff and puff but stay in the relegation dogfight
The Sardinian outfit put up the big fight, but once again were not able to capitalise and close out the game.
Their physicality pushed Milan to their limits as they tested the Rossoneri throughout the full 90 and probably deserved at least a point for their efforts. Nicolo Barella was once again brilliant and is proving to be a real find in their midfield as he takes his game to another level. However, his absence due to suspension next week will be a major loss for Luis Diego Lopez’ men in their huge clash against fellow strugglers, Crotone. I Rossoblu have the weapons to stay up and survive the drop this season, but need to convert their resilient defence into goals down the other end.
Expect Cagliari to be right in the dogfight right until the end, but to ultimately stay up due to their squad superiority over their fellow strugglers.
Unattractive football still leading to much needed results
Gattuso’s Milan are not expected to play beautiful football that wow audiences, but their old-fashioned style is now starting to translate into results.
After a rocky start, the Rossoneri have fashioned two wins on the bounce and now closed the gap to a single point behind sixth place. Their physical edge is back and the players are fighting to get their derailed season in some sort of direction. The defence has stepped up, the midfield has a bit more of a creative edge and the attack looks much more fluid. The big question marks are still raised after their wins have been against relegation strugglers and their test is against one of the form teams in the competition, Lazio, at home this week.