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Serie A | Milan 5-1 Cagliari

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Milan took a while to get going, but eventually crushed Cagliari 5-1 including a Christian Pulisic brace, Tijjani Reijnders rocket and Rafael Leao run from midfield.

Stefano Pioli dropped Rafael Leao, Theo Hernandez, Fikayo Tomori and Davide Calabria, with Mike Maignan, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Simon Kjaer injured. The Sardinians were three points clear of the drop zone, with Tommaso Augello and Gianluca Gaetano suspended, Jakub Jankto and Antoine Makoumbou injured.

In honour of Mother’s Day, both sets of players wore jerseys with their maternal surnames on the back rather than paternal.

There was an eerie silence at San Siro, as the ultras again refused to chant or cheer on their players, this time the protest spread throughout the stadium.

Simone Scuffet made a tough early save on the spectacular Alessandro Florenzi volley, while Cagliari penalty appeals were rejected as Malick Thiaw’s arm was flush against the body when the ball was deflected onto it.

Milan opened the scoring when Christian Pulisic’s cross was deflected and Scuffet got behind a Samuel Chukwueze effort, but Ismael Bennacer was ready to turn in the rebound.

Chukwueze went off injured at half-time, one of three changes made by Pioli, and Rafael Leao almost made an immediate impact when sliding in at the back post to fire a Pulisic cross against the bar.

Marco Sportiello’s first big save on Eldor Shomurodov wouldn’t have counted due to the offside flag, but the second did as he got down to fingertip a Matteo Prati daisy-cutter round the post.

However, Milan doubled their lead when Rafael Leao started the counter from his own final third and shrugged off a defender before the slide-rule pass to release Pulisic one-on-one.

Sportiello remained busy, making a tough double save on the ferocious Alessandro Deiola free kick and the rebound.

He was eventually beaten moments later when Nandez was allowed to run undisturbed through the Milan defence to meet a Gabriele Zappa cross from the right.

The Rossoneri restored their two-goal cushion, as after a rapid counter-attack again sparked by Leao won a corner, Tijjani Reijnders hit a right-foot rocket into the far bottom corner from 25 metres out.

Cagliari had a huge opportunity to get it back to 3-2 on 79 minutes, managing to hit the frame of the goal twice in the same move. First Zappa’s in-swinging corner thumped the upright, then Shomurodov’s follow-up was deflected onto the crossbar and substitute Fikayo Tomori also had to make a desperate block.

Bennacer won back the ball in midfield and immediately sent Leao running from the centre-circle, where the Portuguese talent shrugged off defenders, dribbled around the goalkeeper and deposited into an empty net.

Cagliari crumbled, as Leao also wasted a lazy lob, then Okafor rolled across from the left for Pulisic, whose finish was not cleared off the line in time by Yerry Mina as Milan ran out 5-1 winners.

Source – Serie A | Milan 5-1 Cagliari: Pulisic and Leao magic (football-italia.net)