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Milan Player Ratings: Milan 4-1 Cagliari

Fans return to the San Siro with a satisfying Milan win

AC Milan v Cagliari Calcio - Italian Serie A Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images

It was finally time for fans to return to the San Siro Sunday night against Cagliari. All over Twitter, you could see videos and images of the AC Milan fans returning home and bringing an atmosphere that the Milan players haven’t felt in a long time. The starting 11 remained unchanged from the last match against Sampdoria. The chaos started early in this match with Olivier Giroud sending Rafael Leao clean on goal however, Leao was tackled at the last minute by a Cagliari defender. A few minutes after that Milan was awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Sandro Tonali stepped up and curled it beautifully into the back of the net to give Milan the lead. Cagliari answered quickly and scored a header that inched past Mike Maignan. Milan responded very well once they conceded as they attacked right away and caught a lucky break with a Rafael Leao shot deflecting off Brahim Diaz for a goal. Milan scored again with a quick counterattack that ended on the foot of Giroud to the back of the net. Just before the referee blew the whistle for the fit’s half, Milan was awarded their first penalty of the year. Giroud stepped up and slotted it home to give Milan the 4-1 advantage at the half.

The second half was a lot less eventful than the first. Milan seemed content to sit back and take their time in this half. Even with a slower pace and more relaxed game, Milan still seemed like they could score another 2 or 3. Pioli kept Giroud in to try and get his first hat trick with Milan. As the half went on the pace of the match slowed down even more and at 90 minutes Milan maintained their 4-1 lead to win the match. An overall great return to the San Siro with a dominating win.

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STARTING LINE-UP

Mike Maignan: Maignan didn’t have a lot to do against Cagliari. He again showed his aggression and great ability with the ball at his feet. I don’t blame him much for the goal because he did get a fingertip on the ball. I might have mentioned this last week, but Maignan is so vocal for a new signing, and it is great. 6.5/10

Davide Calabria: Calabria seemed a bit nervous in the opening minutes of the match but once he settled down his play was back to his regular standard. With him and Alexis on the right side, it is a defensive nightmare for opponents. In my opinion, he could have done better on the goal against. 6/10

Simon Kjaer: Kjaer was great again and I believe it was him to give the speech to the team in the huddle before kickoff. Kjaer continues to be aggressive and make great tactical fouls when necessary. 7.5/10

Fikayo Tomori: Like Kjaer, Fik was great. His pace is so vital in this team as it allows everyone to press up against him because they know Fikayo can recover if need be. 7.5/10

Theo Hernandez: Theo returned to form in this match. He let the match come to him and didn’t take any unnecessary risks. He had a few nice bursting runs and had a great interception that led to the counterattack that got Milan their 3rd goal. 7/10

Sandro Tonali: It was a dream come true for Sandro Tonali. Not only did he play well but he scored his first goal in a Milan shirt in front of the home crowd. Sandro is a different player from last year it is clear to see, even Pioli mentioned this in his post-match press conference. 7/10

Rade Krunic: This was one of the better games from Krunic. He looked very confident and comfortable. My only complaint is that he should have been on the edge of the box for the goal against. 6.5/10

Alexis Saelemaekers: Alexis is pure girt and heart. Some of the plays coming back on defence were great and his work rate really helps Milan. He even showed a bit (not a lot) of offensive skill with some nice crosses. 6.5/10

Brahim Diaz: Mamma mia Brahim is really playing well in the first two matches. Brahim has stepped up and he is active on the field. He is everywhere, dropping deep to collect passes even breaking on the counter-attack to find Giroud. 7/10

Rafael Leao: Leao has shown improvement to start the season. His work rate has improved, and he seems to have his head in the game more. Leao is even helping a bit on the defensive end. It seems that his mentality is improving. 6.5/10

Olivier Giroud: Wow, what a good match from Giroud. His hold-up play is exquisite, and his finishing ability is much needed in this squad. So far, it seems like a great signing for Maldini and company. 7/10

SUBSTITUTES

Ante Rebic: Rebic looked better in this match. He seemed to have his legs under him and was making nice runs off Giroud. It still seems that Theo and Ante have a better connection on that left side. 6/10

Ismael Bennacer: Inching closer and closer to a full 90 minutes Bennacer came on and looked in control much like last week. Hopefully, he continues to progress and get match fit. 6.5/10

Alessandro Florenzi: This is now two matches where Florenzi has come on and played as a winger and not a right back. Nonetheless, Florenzi has looked decent in the minutes that he’s played. His versatility is going to be a big asset for the club. 6/10

Daniel Maldini: N/A

Samu Castillejo: N/A

Manager

Stefano Pioli: Pioli’s tactics seem to be evolving this year. The team looks fluid all over the pitch as everyone drifts in and out of various positions. This brings a level of surprise to the Milan attack as you don't really know who will be attacking from where. Now, at times it is a bit chaotic so I will want to see them against a top 7 team to see what Pioli does. 6.5/10