Milan Storm Past Cagliari as Giroud Bags His First Serie A Brace

A red and black hurricane hit Cagliari as Milan offered the best possible show to their fans who were back on the San Siro stands after more than one year. It ended 4-1 on Sunday night, with all 5 goals scored in the first half.

The Rossoneri caught their second win in a row, embellished by an Olivier Giroud double and a true gem of a goal from Sandro Tonali, who converted a free kick alla Del Piero to score his first with the Milan jersey.

Despite Ismael Bennacer’s full recovery, Stefano Pioli chose again to rely on Rade Krunic to support Sandro Tonali in the double pivot role. His starting XI was the same as the one that debuted on Monday with a 1-0 win in Genoa. Cagliari, on the other hand, had to resort to their backup goalkeeper Boris Radunovic to replace the injured Alessio Cragno.

Milan’s start was thundering. On 10 minutes, Olivier Giroud released Rafael Leao with a brilliant back heel pass but defender Andrea Carboni prevented the Portuguese from going one-on-one with the keeper with a prodigious slide tackle.

Just one minute later, they opened the scoring. Diego Godin knocked down Alexis Saelemaekers and the Rossoneri gained a free kick from the edge of the box. Sandro Tonali showed that maybe there is some sense in comparing him to Andrea Pirlo with a sumptuous conversion that was worth one of the Maestro‘s, curling the ball right into the top right corner of the net.

All easy for the home side? Seemed not, at least for a while. The Islanders drew level in three minutes as Alessandro Deiola, well picked by Joao Pedro, put the ball past Mike Maignan with a clinical header. But Milan were quick to react and had luck on their side when a Rafael Leao shot from outside the box hit Brahim Diaz and bounced into the net. Seventeen minutes into the game, the scoresheet already read 2-1.

The fun thing is, it was not over yet. On 23 minutes, it was time for Giroud to bag his first Serie A goal on the counter as he drove the ball home from a perfectly-timed Brahim Diaz pass. And, it took a fine Radunovic save from a Rafael Leao close range shot to prevent the scoring from being rounded up further.

Milan’s fourth, however, was only delayed by a few minutes. Right before the half time break, a chainless Rafael Leao went for a shot and Kevin Strootman deflected his effort with an elbow. After a VAR check, referee Marco Serra allowed a penalty and Giroud made no mistake from the spot to write his name into the scoresheet again.

At half time, Cagliari could only be glad that it was over. The second period of the game didn’t have much to offer as the Rossoneri understandably hit the brakes and Leonardo Semplici’s side didn’t have the willpower to mount a reaction – except for a Charalampos Lykogiannis challenge that was well dealt with by Maignan.

Cagliari will have to forget this setback fast and will have the chance to do so in two weeks as they receive winless Genoa at the Sardegna Arena. The Rossoneri, on the other hand, will welcome Lazio at the San Siro in a clash between two of the sides that have shown the best offensive power so far. The battle for the Scudetto is set to catch fire soon, but Stefano Pioli’s Milan have already sent a clear message to all contenders.



August 29, 2021 – Serie A 2021-22 Round 2

SCORERS: 12′ Tonali (M), 15′ Deiola (C), 17′ Brahim Diaz (M), 24′ Giroud (M), 43′ Giroud (M, pen.)

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Tonali (69′ Bennacer), Krunic; Saelemaekers (69′ Florenzi), Brahim Diaz (85′ Maldini), Rafael Leao (69′ Rebic); Giroud (Plizzari, Tătărușanu, Ballo-Touré, Gabbia, Kalulu, Romagnoli, Castillejo) Coach: Pioli
CAGLIARI (3-5-2): Radunovic; Ceppitelli (64′ Zappa), Godin, Carboni; Nandez, Deiola (82′ Pereiro), Strootman (78′ Farias), Marin, Dalbert (78′ Lykogiannis); Joao Pedro, Pavoletti (82′ Ceter) (Aresti, Fusco, Altare, Walukiewicz, Grassi, Oliva) Coach: Semplici

REFEREE: Mr. Serra from Turin
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Brahim Diaz, Dalbert, Deiola, Strootman, Godin, Nandez; Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 2′