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Italy - Serie A
September 1, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: C. Russo
• Attendance: 30471
P. Mexès 30'
M. Balotelli 62'
M. Sau 33'
Thank you very much for joining me this evening. My name is Tom Webber, and it has been a pleasure to guide you through the action. Have a great night!
FULL TIME - Milan 3-1 Cagliari: The Rossoneri looked to be set for a simple victory after goals from Robinho and Mexes put them two goals to the good, but Sau's stunner gave the Rossoblu hope for the second half. Balotelli's thumping goal ended the visitors' aims of a comeback and secured the three points for his team.
90' + 3'
There is the final whistle!
90' + 2'
Balotelli curls it in but it is a white shirt that connects with the ball. The referee, however, has seen a foul and awards the Sardinians a free kick of their own.
90' + 1'
We are into the first minute of an additional three, and Balotelli draws a free kick from Conti in a dangerous position.
Abate again pushes on down the right and clips a great ball into the area. El Shaarawy rises at the back post but is unable to connect with the cross, and it rolls out on the far side for a throw in.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Not a flawless performance from Milan this evening, but they have got the job done. The Rossoblu still fancy their chances of grabbing a goal, though, which is something the Rossoneri will need to stop teams thinking if they are to mount a title challenge.
Conti tries to find Ibarbo with a long ball down the channel but Mexes comes across to cover and wins possession. Cagliari look dangerous when they move it about quickly, they just are not doing it enough.
JUST OVER THE BAR!! Ibarbo drives forward down the right and a fortuitous touch off of Nene falls to him inside the area. He looks sure to find the net, but De Jong puts a foot in which proves to be enough to put him off and he fires well over the target.
Balotelli spots the run of Matri across the box while he is deep on the right so he attempts to bend a cross into the former Juve man's path. He overhits it, however, and Agazzi is able to vacate his goal and claim it.
Milan still do not look watertight at the back. They are allowing the Rossoblu too much time on the ball in threatening areas. That may be a by-product of their two-goal advantage, but I imagine Allegri would want his team to hold onto that.
Matri this time pulls out to the right and manages to find space to drill a low cross into the area. Unfortunately for him none of his team-mates take a gamble and Agazzi manages to collect the ball.
Matri gets his first effort on goal tonight but from a long, looping ball, his glancing header was never really going to beat Agazzi. The keeper chased across his goal to watch it go out, though, so maybe he was not as sure!
WHAT A WASTE!! Conti picks up a loose ball in the midfield and immediately feeds Sau who goes through on goal. He opens up his body and looks to bend a shot inside the post, but inside rolls one down the middle for Abbiati.
Conti floats a free kick towards the back post but in his efforts to win the header Pinilla climbs all over Mexes and concedes a free kick. That proves to be his last action in the game as he is replaced by Nene.
Yellow CardNigel De Jong
Cagliari are struggling to get on the ball here and when they do get it they lose it far too easily. Milan are looking dominant and certainly look capable of adding to their tally.
Matri makes his Milan return as he replaces Robinho for the closing stages. The Brazilian has gone quiet this half and it is the right idea to get some fresh legs up front.
Balotelli certainly deserves that goal having had a role in both of his team's first two. He has put in a really good shift for his team tonight and is linking the play with his team-mates excellently.
GOOOOOAALL!! Balotelli scores his first goal of the season! A great ball in from Abate is poorly dealt with by Ariaudo and the Milan man takes a touch before smashing a shot into the back of the net.
Thunderous effort from Muntari! He starts the second half just as he did the first, except this shot arrows high and wide of the goal. Very cleanly struck, though.
We are back underway in Milan!
The teams are back out on the pitch and so the second half will begin shortly.
HALF TIME - Milan 2-1 Cagliari: Goals from Robinho and Mexes looked to have the Rossoneri on the path to victory but Sau responded brilliantly with a stunning strike. We now have a second half that is set up perfectly for even more entertainment. Join me in 15 minutes for it!
45' + 1'
The half-time whistle goes.
Quality devilvery from Dessena but he puts just a bit too much height on it and Pinilla is unable to get his head to the ball inside the area. A bright close to the half from the visitors.
Just as I say that, Pinilla almost sets one up! The Chilean displays great technique as he volleys Nainggolan's pass into the area for Conti. The midfielder fails to make a positive connection with the ball, though, and the chance goes begging.
Milan just trying to take the sting out of the game with a spell of slower possession closer to their own half. For the visitors, Pinilla has been completely ineffectual in this first half.
JUST WIDE!! Milan are given a free kick in the centre, 30 yards from goal, as Conti fells Poli and earns a yellow card. Balotelli thumps the dead ball towards the bottom corner but his effort shades the outside of the post.
Yellow CardDaniele Conti
Penalty claim for Milan as Balotelli is bundled to ground by Ariaudo as Emanuelson's cross goes into the area. The striker is disappointed not to have been given it but it would have been harsh.
Another wasted set piece for the visitors! Conti slams a free kick straight into the wall and Ekdal's attempt to strike the loose, bouncing ball at goal ens up flying high above the roof of the net.
Well, well! It looked like Milan were set to run away with this one but Sau's strike was unstoppable. If Cagliari can maintain this until half time they may fancy pulling another one back later in the game.
WHAT A GOAL!! SAU PULLS ONE BACK!! Sublime football from the striker, dribbling inside from the left he cuts across the box and bends a brilliant strike into the far corner past the despairing Abbiati.
GOOOOAAAALL!! Mexes makes it two! That is a real blow for the hosts who have recently come into the game. Balotelli's brilliant strike is kept out by Agazzi but Mexes is alert and follows up to volley home the loose ball.
Murru attempts to stand Abate up just inside the area but he shows the right-back down the line. Abate obliges, beating him before drilling the ball into the area, but Agazzi gets in the way of it and nullifies the danger.
Good spell from Cagliari. Dessena's ball goes all the way through to the back post, but Nainggolan picks it up and resets the play. Another cross is sent in, this time from the left, but Sau is unable to divert his header on target to worry Abbiati.
De Jong has been very robust in midfield so far this evening, but he goes in on Cabrera with too much zeal and concedes a free kick. The Rossoblu try to take it quickly but fail to worry the Milan defence.
Close call there! Sau's flick looks to have put Cabrera in behind but the referee's assistant raises his flag for offside. The Uruguayan is not happy, probably more so because he has barely been involved so far this evening.
Ambitious attempt from Muntari as he tries to flick Abate's cross in with his trailing leg, despite being over 12 yards from goal. With such a technique he fails to get enough power on the ball to guide it past Agazzi, who holds comfortably.
Murru gets forward well and wins a corner as his cross is diverted behind by Zapata. From the following set play, though, Cagliari fail to get the ball into the area in order to work Abbiati. They will need to take those sorts of chances tonight.
Muntari pulls of a nutmeg in the middle of the pitch and Ekdal blocks the Ghanaian from picking it up on the other side. The referee awards the hosts a free kick, but it would have been great to see that come off!
Cagliari are proving very sloppy in possession at the moment. Milan's pressing has been impressive so far and they are working hard to restrict the time and space on the ball of their opposition.
Conti goes in hard on Poli in midfield but the referee deems it a legal challenge. The Milan man stays down on the ground but the visitors progress up the field and continue to play. The ball is eventually worked back to Conti but his shot is deflected well wide.
His attempt takes a deflection off of the wall and foes behind for a corner, which is subsquently headed away by Ariaudo. The Rossoblu are yet to really get a foothold in this match.
A free kick in a dangerous area for Milan here as Conti takes Balotelli to ground with a clumsy challenge 20 yards from goal. The striker is going to be the man to take it.
What a waste! Balotelli's flick falls kindly inside the area for Montolivo but rather than shoot the midfielder attempts to roll the ball back to his team-mate. The Cagliari defence intervene and clear the danger away.
ALMOST ANOTHER!! Robinho rolls his foot over the ball and glides past Dessena and into the area. He strikes the ball with his left-foot but drags his attempt wide of the far post.
GOOOOOAAAL!! Robinho puts Milan ahead! Abate clipped a pass down the right for Balotelli and the striker did excellently to hold onto the ball before sending a low cross into the area. Montolivo and Muntrai fail to connect but Robinho is on hand at the back post to tuck the ball into the bottom corner.
Milan have won their last nine home matches against Cagliari. In this fixture last season Daniele Conti saw red as a El Shaarawy double ensured a safe victory for the Rossoneri. It would be some performance if he came on and did that!
We just caught a picture of El Shaarawy on the bench and we certainly did not look happy. If he is given a chance as a substitute this evening then he will need to put in a good performance to try and win back his pace in the team.
Milan are keepng possession well in the opening stages. Balotelli comes out to the right to pick up the ball and run at the defence. He does brilliantly to turn his marker but has no support following him down into the corner and he runs into a dead end.
Early test for Agazzi has Muntari hammers an effort from in excess of 30 yards. The ball swerves around in the air but the keeper stays confident and gets his body behind it and holds the shot.
We are under way at the San Siro!
Following that collision Muntari has to change his shorts on the touchline. Read into that what you will.
Ibarbo comes on and immediately shows his pace and he races past Emanuelson down the flank. The Colombian fails to get the ball into the area and goes down after some minor contact with Muntari. There was barely anything in that, though.
Another attempt on goal from Balotelli but this one he fails to connect with as well. In fairness, it looks as though the ball took an awkward bounce before the striker practically rolled a shot back to the keeper.
Balotelli goes for goal from a free kick again, and this one is in excess of 35 yards. He hits the ball with plenty of power but fails to keep it down and on target.
Cagliari have started this game just as they ended the first. The next goal will be crucial here. Should the visitors get it in they may go for the win, but if Milan get it, then the Rossoblu would surely be too deflated to come back again.
Another important interception for Milan as Mexes stops Sau from slotting home after Nainggolan's cross by sliding in and turning the ball behind. The Belgian tries his luck from distance following the set piece but he fails to test Abbiati.
CRUCIAL TACKLE!! Cagliari catch Milan off guard and get men over on the left. Eventually the ball is rolled to Nainggolan but Abate comes across and blocks the effort with a brilliant challenge.
Milan have won their last nine home matches against Cagliari in all competitions and they are undefeated in their previous 12 home matches in Serie A.
The teams are making their way out onto the pitch now and kick off will be upon us very shortly. This should be an interesting meeting.
Goals from Nainggolan and Cabrera brought Cagliari from behind to win their opening game of the season at home to Atalanta last weekend. However, the Rossoblu have failed to win on their travels in Serie A on their previous six outings.
Kevin-Prince Boateng scored two of the goals in that win but has now left the club to join Schalke. The Rossoneri have acquired Alessandro Matri from Juventus, but the striker only starts on the bench this evening.
Milan recovered from the 2-1 defeat to Hellas Verona on the opening day to ensure qualification for the Champions League with a 3-0 win over PSV. It is the positives of that win, and not the negatives of their previous defeat, that they must focus on tonight.
Cagliari (4-1-2-1-2): Agazzi; Dessena, Rossettini, Ariaudo, Murru; Conti, Nainggolan, Cabrera, Ekdal; Pinilla, Sau.
Milan (4-1-2-1-2): Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; De Jong, Poli, Muntari, Montolivo; Robinho, Balotelli.
Having been taken off before the final whistle in his last two outings, Stephan El Shaarawy has been dropped to the bench by his coach today. Robinho is therefore handed a starting berth, and all the rest of the team news is coming up.
Hello and welcome to tonight's LIVE text commentary on the Serie A meeting between AC Milan and Cagliari at the San Siro. The Rossoneri lost their opening game of the season to newly-promoted Hellas Verona and will be eager for their first points of the season this evening. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through the action.
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