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September 26, 2012
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. De Marco
• Attendance: 49000
S. El Shaarawy 16', 82'
That's all from me guys. Thank you for joining me for Goal.com's LIVE coverage of tonight's game. Farewell!
MILAN HAVE SCORED AT HOME!! MILAN HAVE WON AT HOME!! It's been a long time coming but the Rossoneri are finally off the mark at the San Siro this season, and it sent them on their way to their first win at home this campaign too! Between them and Inter it has taken 10 matches for a home win, but Allegri's side achieved that tonight with a 2-0 victory over Cagliari.
FULL-TIME: AC MILAN 2-0 CAGLIARI Massimiliano Allegri may not have been on the bench tonight as he served his one-match touchline ban, but his side certainly eased the pressure on him by winning. Stephan El Shaarawy was the standout performer for the home side, scoring either side of half-time to seal Milan a 2-0 win. Cagliari should have tested Abbiati more throughout the game, with Mauricio Pinilla particularly wasteful in front of goal. The away side enjoyed large spells of possession but crucially failed to get off the mark, and following the sending off of their captain Daniele Conti for an elbow on Pazzini midway through the second half never looked like getting anything from the game.
90' + 3'
The set piece goes straight to Milan though, and the referee Andrea De Marco decides he's seen enough, and blows the whistle to mark the end of the game.
90' + 3'
Perico has gone down clutching his knee on the right touchline after a heavy challenge from De Sciglio, and Cagliari have another free-kick.
90' + 1'
THAT IS AWFUL FROM CONSTANT!! What a chance that is for the Milan youngster to make it 3-0! Robinho plays him in beautifully but he wastes the chance, slamming his left-foot shot WAY over the bar.
Nene's second effort at goal is not a patch on his first, and goes flying over Abbiati's crossbar.
Sloppy play from Ambrosini! The Milan substitute goes through the back of Sau and Cagliari have another free-kick in a dangerous position.
Perico pushes forward down the right for Cagliari and curls a cross towards Nene in the centre but Mexes is there for the home side to sweep up the danger and clear the ball away from goal.
Cagliari have matched Milan in terms of possession tonight, but they have wasted far too many chances in front of goal.
Nene, who has only just come on for Pinilla, takes the set piece, and his whipped effort has Abbiati scrabbling to his right to keep the ball from finding the bottom left-hand corner.
Free-kick to Cagliari 30 yards from goal...
The Rossoneri faithful are in full voice now following that second El Shaarawy goal, with just over five minutes left on the clock.
Assist Massimo Ambrosini
Goal Stephan El Shaarawy
GOALLL!!! EL SHAARAWY STRIKES AGAIN!! Milan appear to have wrapped things up here, with their 19-year-old striker bagging his second of the night. Ambrosini provides the assist, slotting a neat pass through to El Shaarawy inside the Cagliari box, who then fired the ball confidently past Agazzi.
De Sciglio loses the ball in a promising position for Milan with Pazzini imploring him to pass, and Cagliari look to counter. Dessena switches the ball from left to right to Perico, but his attempted cross is wayward and goes out for a Milan goal-kick.
Cagliari are tiring now as we head towards the final 10 minutes of this match, and it is to be expected following Conti's dismissal earlier in the half. Milan are being afforded more time in possession, and are moving the ball well.
And Ambrosini very nearly gets an assist with his first touch! The veteran midfielder dinks a ball over the top to El Shaarawy, but the ball appears to bounce at the wrong time for the Milan attacker, as he cuts underneath it and skies his shot over Agazzi's crossbar.
The home side make their third and final change of the evening, as Massimo Ambrosini comes on to replace Riccardo Montolivo.
Should Milan hold on here, it will be in keeping with their recent form against their opposition tonight - they have won their last 8 home matches against Cagliari in all competitions.
Despite going down to 10 men Cagliari continue to look the more dangerous of the two sides with just under 20 minutes left on the clock.
De Jong is not renowned for his goalscoring ability, and that's not about to change... Milan work the ball into a good position on the edge of the Cagliari box but the Netherlands international wrongly decides to shoot and it nearly goes out for a throw on the right.
Yellow Card Mattia De Sciglio
Some alert defending from Bonera stops Sau from bursting through on goal, and the Milan defender looks to start a counter attack by hammering the ball forward to El Shaarawy on the right.
Sau's cross finds Pinilla on the penalty spot, but his header is off target. Cagliari have dominated this second half but they have failed to convert that dominance into goals.
Pinilla looks like a man possessed out on the right wing for Cagliari! He does really well to cut inside De Sciglio and draws a foul from the young Milan full-back. The away side have a free-kick 20 yards from goal wide on the right...
Milan nearly make their numerical advantage pay immediately, their substitute Kevin Constant just failing to get on the end of El Shaarawy's fine cross from the right-hand side.
Yellow/Red Daniele Conti
RED CARD FOR CONTI!! The Cagliari midfielder has been shown his marching orders by the referee after catching Pazzini with an elbow as Milan looked to attack. Who knows what was going through his head there.
WHAT A BALL FROM PINILLA!! Cagliari have solved the problem of their misfiring forward, they've shifted him out to the wing. He immediately swings a delicious ball across the six yard box, but Sau does not read the flight of the ball correctly and it flies out for a throw-in.
Yellow Card Daniele Conti
On comes Robinho for the home side. He will replace Emanuelson upfront for Milan. It is only the Brazilian's second start of the season, as he has been struggling to overcome a leg injury.
Yellow Card Giampaolo Pazzini
MORE YELLOW CARDS!! Pazzini and Conti are both booked by the referee after clashing on the halfway line. There was a bit of handbags after the initial foul from Conti, which explains why Pazzini followed the Cagliari man into the book.
IBARBO HEADS JUST WIDE!! The Cagliari forward flicks Conti's enticing free-kick from the right inches wide of Abbiati's right-hand post as his side continue their search for an equaliser. That. Was. Close.
El Shaarawy saunters across to take the corner, but then wastes it, sending it straight into the arms of the Cagliari goalkeeper Agazzi.
Of course, having just said that, Milan immediately work a shooting opportunity. Montolivo carves out a yard of space on the edge of the box and sends a shot goalwards but it takes a deflection and goes out for a corner.
I'm struggling to remember the last time Milan had the ball in Cagliari's half! The away side have dominated the first 15 minutes of this second half.
The away side are knocking rather forcefully on the door here at the San Siro. Conti, who has looked impressive all game in central midfield for Cagliari, fires a shot from long-range at goal that Abbiati does well to get down to and save.
Cagliari's substitute Marco Sau takes the set piece, but it is comfortably cleared by first Mexes and then De Jong.
Cagliari have another corner...
That's a sloppy passage of play! Both sides are guilty of some wayward passing as the ball switches hands three of four times within the space of a few seconds.
Cagliari are well on top in this second half!! Nainggolan bursts into the area on the left with the ball eventually falling to the feet of that man Pinilla. His team-mates must be beginning to lose their patience with the forward, as he wastes another good opportunity, lashing a shot wide from 15 yards.
Conti lofts the corner into the Milan box, and again a Pinilla chance goes begging, and again it is a wild headed effort that goes high over the crossbar.
Dessena surges forward for Cagliari before unleashing a shot at goal from distance. The Milan centre-back Bonera throws his body in front of the ball though, and it goes ricocheting out for a corner to the away side.
Pinilla has not started the second half well for Cagliari. First he wasted that glorious headed chance, and now he has given away a cheap free-kick for a foul on Mexes.
The two same players combine from a set piece shortly after, El Shaarawy floating a corner to Traore 18 yards out. His speculative overhead kick never looks like testing Agazzi though, and goes out for a goal-kick to the visitors.
Traore looks to release El Shaarawy with a first-time pass from midfield, but it is slightly behind the Milan forward and the move breaks down.
PINILLA HEADS MILES OVER!! The Cagliari attacker should at the very least be forcing Abbiati into a save there! Pisano and Ibarbo link well down the right with the former curling a fine cross right onto the head of Pinilla, but his effort is woeful and a long way off target.
Cagliari get the ball rolling here, and immediately lift the ball forward to Ibarbo. De Sciglio dispossesses the attacker but the away side soon have the ball back and again look to break down the right-hand side.
The teams are making their way out back onto the pitch at the San Siro. The second half will be underway shortly...
Here's a juicy stat for those of you who like that kind of thing... Milan have been winning at both half-time and full-time in 6 of their last 7 matches at home against Cagliari in all competitions.
It's been a fiery first half at the San Siro, with the referee Andrea De Marco showing yellow cards to Pisano, De Jong and Pinilla. Both sides are desperate for a win to get their season's back on track, with both having made stuttering starts to the Serie A campaign.
HALF-TIME: AC MILAN 1-0 CAGLIARI The Rossoneri's first home goal of the season means they go in ahead at the break, after they took the lead in the 16th minute through Stephan El Shaarawy. The youngster took his goal well, beating a haphazard Cagliari offside trap before firing a low finish under the despairing dive of Agazzi. Cagliari have gone close to equalising through Pinilla and Ibarbo, although Milan could have increased their lead late in the half when a deflected effort from El Shaarawy struck the crossbar.
The referee blows his whistle to signal the end of the half bang on the 45-minute mark. Milan lead here going into the break.
The pace of the match has dipped slightly as we head towards half-time, with the away side passing the ball between their defenders in their own half.
Cagliari have won just two of their last 28 meetings with Massimiliano Allegri's side, and they have work on their hands here if they want to increase that number tonight.
MILAN HIT THE CROSSBAR!! A deflected shot from El Shaarawy crashes onto Agazzi's crossbar and Pazzini cannot quite force the rebound over the line to make it 2-0, with Astori hacking the ball away to safety.
The referee stops play for a foul from Traore on Pisano just as Milan look to work the ball into the Cagliari penalty area. It didn't look like there was much in that challenge, and the away side are perhaps lucky to get the benefit of the doubt from the referee, with Milan well and truly on the attack there.
El Shaarawy has a shot from the edge of the Cagliari box deflected out for a corner, and opts to take the set piece himself. He curls it towards Bonera at the back post but he cannot keep the ball in play, and it runs out for a throw-in to the away side.
Yellow Card M. Pinilla
It seems Pinilla is actually receiving treatment for an injury he picked up while wiping out Abate there. He's only got himself to blame.
ANOTHER YELLOW CARD!! Pinilla finds his way into the referee's notebook after clattering into Milan's Abate about half an hour late down on the near touchline. He can have no complaints about that decision!
Milan are on the back foot as Cagliari commit men forward in search of an equalising goal before the break. The away side are certainly growing in confidence here as the half wears one.
IBARBO GOES CLOSE!! The muscular Colombian forward comes within inches of equalising for the away side, rifling a shot just wide of Abbiati's left-hand post after controlling the ball superbly and setting himself up for the shot 25 yards from goal.
Ibarbo plays in Pisano on the left-hand side of the Milan penalty area, and the Cagliari defender hurls himself to the turf in search of a penalty under a challenge from Traore, but the referee is having none of it, and waves away the defender's shouts.
Moments after Conti shanks a shot miles from the Milan goal, Pinilla repeats the trick. His team-mates are shaking their heads at that effort, and you can't blame them!
The set piece is wasted though, with a long-distance shot from Conti flying some way off target to gift Milan possession.
Cagliari have a corner on the right after Abbiati tips a speculative Ibarbo shot round the post, when it was clearly going wide anyway. The Milan bench are not happy with that piece of goalkeeping!
Cagliari counter-attack after De Jong surrenders possession cheaply, with the ball eventually reaching Pinilla inside the Milan area. He cannot work Abbiati though, due to a fine last-ditch tackle from Bonera.
The away side are starting to come back into this game a bit, after struggling in the initial minutes after going behind to El Shaarawy's goal. Their midfield trio are starting to get a hold of the ball in the centre of the pitch.
PAZZINI FLASHES A SHOT WIDE!! The Milan striker has a chance to test Agazzi from distance after the Cagliari defence allow him to push forward with the ball, but his strike from 20 yards flies just wide of the right-hand post.
Dessena wins the ball brilliantly in the centre of midfield for Cagliari before teeing the ball off to his team-mate Conti. Conti then feeds a delightful pass to Thiago Ribeiro on the left-hand side of the area, and he forces Abbiati into making a good save from his firmly-struck effort that is arrowing towards the bottom left-hand corner.
Speaking of Pazzini, it is his 250th appearance in Serie A today, so congratulations Giampaolo! That's quite an achievement.
Milan nearly increase their lead from a corner! Pazzini tries an ambitious flick between his legs after the driven set piece finds him on the penalty spot, but a well-timed block from Astori stops the ball from reaching the Cagliari goal.
Cagliari look a bit shell-shocked after going behind here, and they are struggling to make much headway in the final third when they do get the ball forward.
El Shaarawy has looked the most dangerous player on the pitch during the opening quarter of an hour or so of this match, and it is no surprise that he is the man to give Milan the lead in this game. It was a well-timed run, and a very confident finish from the youngster.
That's Milan's first goal at the San Siro in the league this season!
Assist Riccardo Montolivo
Goal Stephan El Shaarawy
GOALLLL!!! EL SHAARAWY HAS GIVEN MILAN THE LEAD!! The young attacker latches on to a defence-splitting pass from Montolivo, springing the offisde trap brilliantly, before slotting a calm finish past Agazzi from 15 yards. Milan are 1-0 up here!
PINILLA SHOOTS VERY VERY HIGH OVER THE BAR!! Some decent build-up play from Conti and Ibarbo fashions a chance for the experienced striker, but he gets his shot all wrong, firing high over Abbiati's crossbar from the right-hand side of the Milan penalty area.
Yellow Card Nigel De Jong
The referee has gone to his pocket again, and it's one of the usual suspects who has caught his eye on this occasion. Nigel De Jong is shown a yellow card for his rash tackle through the back of the Cagliari striker Mauricio Pinilla. Nice to see the Dutchman's style of play hasn't changed despite his move from the Premier League to Serie A.
Considering the start their side have made to this Serie A season, one win in four (!!), the Milan fans are in good voice tonight, and are urging their team on as they dominate the opening exchanges here.
Milan have a throw-in deep in Cagliari territory on the left after Pisano headed a dangerous cross out of the box, but the home side cannot make the most of the set piece, and is quickly won back by the right-back Perico.
LOVELY STUFF FROM EL SHAARAWY!! The Pharoah dances past three challenges on his way into the Cagliari penalty area on the left but lets the ball run just too far ahead of him as he looks to take a shot with his left foot, thus allowing Agazzi the opportunity to gather it with his hands.
Cagliari's two Daniele's, Dessena and Conti, are looking to take hold of the ball in midfield for the away side but are being hassled by the likes of De Jong and Traore.
De Jong spreads the ball out well to Abate on the right, the full-back quickly shifts the ball forwards to Emanuelson and looks for the return pass inside the Cagliari box but Rossetini is across well to intercept the ball and clear it away.
Hello, what's going on down in the corner? The Cagliari defender Francesco Pisano has gone hard into a challenge with Urby Emanuelson, and the linesman, who is just yards away from the pair, does not like that one bit! The referee comes sauntering over, and we've got an early yellow card here, Pisano will be walking a tightrope for the rest of this game.
Yellow Card Francesco Pisano
Few will be surprised that Philippe Mexes is the first player to commit a foul here, the referee adjudging the centre-back to have committed an infringement after he charged into the back of the imposing Victor Ibarbo.
Milan get us underway, and promptly hoof the ball forward to Pazzini, but he fails to control it, and it flies out of play for a Cagliari throw-in on the far side.
The teams are out on the pitch here at the San Siro and we are just seconds away from kick-off!
CAGLIARI TEAM NEWS: With a complete squad to choose from, Massimo Ficcadenti has picked a full-strength side, with Daniele Dessena, Daniele Conti and Radja Naingollan forming a solid midfield three behind the athletic attacking trio of Thiago Ribeiro, Mauricio Pinilla and Victor Ibarbo.
MILAN TEAM NEWS: Kevin-Prince Boateng and Cristian Zapata are suspended for this tie having picked up red cards against Udinese, and they are replaced by recent signing Nigel De Jong, and Daniele Bonera. Elsewhere, the young full-back Mattia De Sciglio replaces Djamel Mesbah at left-back, while Massimo Ambrosini makes way for Bakaye Traore in central midfield. The Rossoneri's front three remains unchanged, with Giampaolo Pazzini flanked by Urby Emanuelson and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Cagliari (4-3-3): Agazzi; Perico, Rossettini, Astori, Pisano; Dessena, Conti, Nainggolan; Thiago Ribeiro, Pinilla, Ibarbo
Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Mexes, De Sciglio; Traore, De Jong, Montolivo; Emanuelson, Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Enough background you say, let's have the line-ups. Well, here you have them...
Bologna meanwhile, come into this match on the back of losing 3-0 to Roma at the weekend, without having even stepped on the pitch. No, really! On Saturday the club's president Massimo Cellino defied local authority orders to exclude fans from the Is Arenas due to ongoing safety concerns, instead instructing season-ticket holders to flock to the new stadium for the match against Roma. As a result of this, the Italian Football Federation called the match off and awarded the away side an automatic 3-0 win.
Many Milanistas have been calling for the coach Massimiliano Allegri's head this week, with his side having won just one of their first four Serie A matches this season, and should they lose again tonight it would be hard to see him surviving the night. To make matters worse for the 45-year-old, the match tonight is somewhat out of his hands, with his assistant Mauro Tassotti taking charge of the game, after Allegri was given a one-match touchline ban for his behaviour towards the officials during Milan's 2-1 defeat to Udinese on Sunday. I almost feel a bit sorry for him.
My name is Charlie Scott and I will be doing my utmost to bring you exciting, colourful and potentially insightful updates from the match as it unfolds.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of this evening's Serie A clash that pits a struggling AC Milan side against a struggling Cagliari side at the San Siro.
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