Cagliari 0 – 1 Milan

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MILAN are 5 points clear at the top of the table ahead of Napoli’s clash with Inter later tonight. In a game which the Rossoneri could have ended without points, Milan head home with all 3 thanks to Rodney Strasser’s fist goal for the club! After 2 inspired substitutions by Massimiliano Allegri, Antonio Cassano assisted fellow substitute Rodney Strasser’s goal with an ingenious flick.

In a much changed side due to several injuries and the 1 game suspension of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Massimiliano Allegri fielded youngster Alexander Merkel behind Pato and Robinho in a 4-3-1-2 formation – whilst Massimo Ambrosini, Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf played in midfield. In defence, Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera, Thiago Silva and Luca Antonini started in front of goalkeeper Christin Abbiati.

The Rossoneri started off the better side, holding possession well early on – and Alexander Merkel impressed as the away side kept the ball well. The first chance of the game came just 10 minutes in, Alexander Merkel dragging a center back out of position before slipping the ball in to Robinho. The Brazilian controlled well and shot but it was deflected wide off the foot of Agazzi.

Cagliari 0-1 AC Milan (Match highlights)
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The pace of the game took a turn for the worse and slowed drown dramatically, this seemed to suit Cagliari much more than Milan, and the home side began to take advantage. Cagliari were keeping the ball better now, and were dominating the game, and with half an hour played Canini’s header crashed off the inside of Abbiati’s post before bouncing away mercifully. A close-shave and an indicator that Milan needed to take charge.

However it was Cagliari who ended the half on top. With 40 minutes on the clock a long pass from Clarence Seedorf deflected to Matri, who was brought down in the box by Thiago Silva! However, he was deemed to have been offside, once again Cagliari came close but the score remained 0-0, and the half drew to a close scoreless.

The second half started as the first did – with Milan dominating possession and play, and Milan should have taken the lead in the fifty-first minute. Clarence Seedorf picked up the ball near the half way line, before dinking an excellent through ball for Pato over the Cagliari defence. The Brazilian managed to remain onside, and after taking a touch forward shot, but his effort was saved well by Agazzi, even if Pato should have done a little better.

Cagliari were making the second half an end to end affair, but it was an error from Christian Abbiati which almost lead to a goal for the home side next. After Daniele Bonera played the ball back to him, the Italian goalkeeper kicked the ball straight to Nene inside the box! Nene should have scored but Abbiati made a fairly good recovery to tip the effort wide after a moment of madness!

Shortly after that came Massimiliano Allegri’s first inspired substitution – bringing on Young Rodney Strasser for Gennaro Gattuso, to make his 5th ever appearance for the club!

The home side were pressing hard, and came close to taking the lead once more in the 68th minute, after a very good cross from Agostini, Nene headed across goal whilst Abbiati was in no-man’s land! However, As Matri powered the header at goal Christian Abbiati just about managed to recover and managed to smother the ball after his initial error.

Then came Allegri’s second substitution, taking off Alexander Merkel (who started well but faded as the game went on) to give Antonio Cassano his official debut. It was Cassano’s first proffessional appearance since October, and the Italian had an almost instant impact.

With just 5 minutes left on the clock, time was running out for Milan, but Robinho flicked the ball to Cassano on the edge of the Cagliari area, and Allegri’s substitutes combined wonderfully to craft a winner! Receiving the ball in to feet Antonio Cassano played an incredible back heel, for Rodney Strasser who held off his marker, took a touch, and fired the ball in to the back of the net! There were suspicions of offside but replays have since proven the linesman was right to keep his flag down.

Despite intense pressure in the last 5 minutes of the game from Cagliari, and an additional 4 minutes of stoppage time, Milan managed to hang on to the lead well, and take all 3 points from the Stadio Sant’Elia.

In a game that could so easily have gone the other way, Milan (Christian Abbiati in particular) will be very grateful to have emerged with all the points. Allegri’s substitutions were wise and attacking, and it was excellent not only to see Antonio Cassano create a crucial goal on his debut – but to see Rodney Strasser scoring his first goal for the club – what a time and place to get it!

Man of the Match: for the full game Thiago Silva defended well overall, but Strasser wins it just for the goal!

Best Moment: The excellent improvisation and then goal from Cassano and Strasser of course!

By Hefin Davies, Rossoneri Blog

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milanista@malaysia
9 years ago

milan not playing quite well today but i’m happy for strasser for that goal.pato sucks today.i think he does not suit in 4-3-1-2 formation.we should play 4-3-3 though.under leonardo he became so important for milan and scored some crucial goals too but under allegri?we need to change our formation whenever pato plays otherwise he will become useless eventhough he showed some good skills…

Oscar
Oscar
9 years ago

We did play horrible today but we got a good victory over good Cagliari team at their home ground. We were of course missing: Nesta,Zambrotta,Pirlo,Boateng,Flamini,Ibrahimovic Half of the line-up. And also when you’re playing with Seedorf and Antonini – It’s hard to win. But Seedorf – Ambrosini – Gattuso – Merkel Is not good midfield !!! Merkel should get to play more often when we are winning. Next team for me when everybody is fit. Strasser – Pirlo – Boateng —– Cassano ——– Pato——-Ibrahimovic Or Play Flamini and Robinho but !!!… Seedorf,Bonera,Antonini Out after the Summer. In January: Coentrao, Lazzari?… Read more »

Peter
Peter
9 years ago

Good game by Strasser & Merkel.

Chandler
Chandler
9 years ago

As good as the goal was, I think we owe this win to T. Silva who single handedly covered Matri and Nene and cleaned after Bonera’s shit as well. Good grinding win!

DAMN
DAMN
9 years ago

Go! Strasser Go! you saved our asses out there nice job

N.S.R
N.S.R
9 years ago

good game by abate, nice cross…
superb speed^_^
overall on his way to be world class player

TWF
TWF
9 years ago

thanks God milan won last night. good news is : juve lost 1-4 at home against parma and lazio drew 0-0. giovinco scored 2 goals for parma. what a nice revenge. congrats to strasser and the whole milans’s team.

Master
Master
9 years ago

Wow, without Ibra, Nesta, Pirlo, Flamini, Boateng and other injured players, we still win a difficult match!. This is the prove that Allegri not depend to some players, specially Ibra. More to the good side is Allegri gave two primavera player (Merkel, Strasser) an important role on this match. Well what can i say, Allegri DID his homework. Btw, i give my hat to Cassano for made that assist. He still not fit yet, but imagine when he got his fitness back. But the important thing is, Cassano not lazy like some player who want big fat check but his… Read more »

nick
nick
9 years ago

DAMN! I tired of Robinho wasting some many chances to score! Cant wait for Cassano to take Robinho’s spot in the starting eleven! He is the worst in one on one’s. It makes me sick to watch him in one on one’s with the keeper. I’m happy to see Merkel and Strasser as they are the future! I hope they get more playing time.

Simo
Simo
9 years ago

Man, Robinho really wastes many chances, but he is IN chances, he asks for the ball, and plays it well, fast enough, and a good player. I know, whenever Robinho, Cassano, Pato and Ibrahimovic are ready, someone need to be on the bench, but the thing that will decide it will be often the injuries, suspensions, and eventually, the form. And Allegri shown us, that we can play even three, or two of them. And Robinho, and Cassano both can play between the midfield and the forwards, and Pato, Robinho, and Cassano both can play on the wings. We have… Read more »

ben
ben
9 years ago

great result today! i was very worried about this game going in with all the players not available but i must say, the best thing that has happened to us this season is Allegri using the full squad. Every player on the roster has been useful, and we may have not always played well but we haven’t looked stale either, and to start with merkel and bring in strasser in games like these showed great character from Allegri. Ancelotti would only do that when we were up 5-0 and leonardo didn’t understand the meaning of rotating the squad and shifting… Read more »