Cagliari vs Milan 0-1: Bennacer Stunner Makes It for the Rossoneri

One little step at a time, Milan are getting closer to the Scudetto. The Rossoneri caught their second 1-0 win in a row as they disposed of Cagliari at the Unipol Arena with a stunning volley from Ismael Bennacer.

Milan had the upper hand for most of the game but risked a lot in the dying minutes of the match-up as Leonardo Pavoletti hit the crossbar with a close-range header. They took advantage of Inter’s underwhelming performance against Fiorentina to move six points clear of the Nerazzurri and keep Napoli at a distance.

The home side held their own in the first half but Milan had more chances. Theo Hernandez – back after serving a one-match ban – was the Rossoneri‘s secret weapon, running back and forth across the left flank as usual. On seven minutes, he put his stamp on Milan’s first chance with a perfectly-timed cross but Olivier Giroud, all alone versus Alessio Cragno, incredibly missed his shot.

His next service was for Franck Kessié and resulted in the Presidente‘s effort that hit the post. Then, it was Brahim Diaz to squander another mouth-watering suggestion from the Frenchman with a conclusion that went wide off target.

All this happened within the initial 15 minutes of the game, after which Cagliari somehow managed to organize themselves and contain the Rossoneri‘s assaults. However, the Rossoblu didn’t pose any threat to Mike Maignan as Leonardo Pavoletti and Italy’s recent call-up Joao Pedro upfront were poorly serviced by their teammates. 

Bennacer Stunner Takes Milan Closer to the Scudetto

After the restart, Pioli’s side piled up on the pressure and eventually had their opener on 60 minutes. Before that, however, Hernadez saw his efforts frustrated again as Cragno flew to the top right corner of the goal to parry his shot from the edge of the box.

But the Cagliari goalie couldn’t do anything when Ismael Bennacer volleyed the ball home with a stunning left-foot conclusion, finalizing for the best a brilliant one-touch combination on the Rossoneri‘s part where Giroud served the final pass.

Cagliari’s coach Walter Mazzarri added Gaston Pereiro and Keita Balde to his offensive mix in an attempt to salvage at least one point but it was Joao Pedro to come closer to grab an equalizer. However, his right-foot effort was deflected in corner.

Milan should have had their second on 84 minutes as Calabria triggered a brilliant counterattack. However,  the Rossoneri captain showed that he is not a striker as, after exchanging with Ante Rebic, he failed to slot the ball into the back of Cagliari’s net from point-blank range.

Matteo Lovato pushing back Rebic’s shot right on the goal line seemed to certified that Milan’s lead was indeed a legitimate one but the visitors risked to waste it all when they were caught by surprise by a Gabriele Zappa descent along the right-hand side. Milan could breathe a sigh of relief as Pavoletti’s header from Zappa’s cross bounced into Maignan’s crossbar.

Before the end, Giorgio Altare prevented Alexis Saelemaekers from scoring Milan’s second with a desperate slide tackle. It ended 0-1 as Milan took a further step towards the Scudetto while the Isolani failed to distance themselves from the relegation dogfight. 

What’s Next for Cagliari and Milan

The next stop for Milan is a home game against Bologna at the San Siro, while Cagliari will travel to Udine to face the Friulani at the Dacia Arena. Both games will take place on April 3, after the upcoming international break.



March 19, 2021 – Serie A 2021-2022 Round 30

SCORERS: 59′ Bennacer

CAGLIARI (3-5-2): Cragno; Goldaniga, Lovato, Altare; Bellanova (82′ Pereiro), Marin, Grassi (82′ Keita), Dalbert (75′ Zappa), Lykogiannis (68′ Deiola); Pavoletti, Joao Pedro (Aresti, Radunovic, Carboni, Ceppitelli, Obert, Kourfalidis, Ceter) Coach: S. Mazzarri
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Bennacer, Kessié; Messias (78′ Saelemaekers), Brahim Diaz (72′ Krunic), Rafael Leao (72′ Rebic); Giroud (87′ Ibrahimovic (Tatarusanu, Mirante, Ballo-Touré, Florenzi, Gabbia, Romagnoli, Bakayoko, Tonali) Coach: Pioli

REFEREE: Mr. Di Bello from Brindisi
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Bellanova (C); Added Time: 1st Half: 0′, 2nd Half: 4′