Thousands of AC Milan fans boycotted their home victory over Cagliari in a protest over president Silvio Berlusconi’s running of the club. The Curva Sud ultras group called for fans to not attend the match or buy merchandise in a bid for Berlusconi to be more transparent. In spite of the chaos, Milan picked up a much-needed win over struggling Cagliari, triumphing 3-1 at the San Siro to relieve some of the pressure on coach Filippo Inzaghi. Two goals from Jeremy Menez, the second coming from the penalty spot, and a Philippe Mexes strike earned the Rossoneri only their second win since the start of February, and first in their last four. Diego Farias scored the leveller for Cagliari, who remain inside the bottom three and potentially seven points from safety with eight games of the season remaining.
The Rossoneri fans were on strike after dire results, leaving the stands empty but for a banner that read: a Game over. Insert coin to save Milan.a Jack Bonaventura was a late addition to the absentee list, which included Riccardo Montolivo, Mattia De Sciglio, Adil Rami, Cristian Zapata, Stephan El Shaarawy, Pablo Armero and Cristian Zaccardo. Cagliari welcomed back Zdenek Zeman last week and he had Danilo Avelar, Andrea Cossu, Godfred Donsah and Albin Ekdal available again, but Antonio Balzano was sidelined.
Cagliari dominated the opening proceedings as Milan struggled to get out of their own half. Danilo Avelar received the ball out on the left and chested down well before cutting back with a low cross. It found Marco Sau, who intelligently touched the ball past Gabriel Paletta but could only place his shot wide. Milan finally had a chance of note. A quick break down the left from Antonelli saw the full back swing in a good cross, but frustratingly for the Rossoneri only Mattia Destro was in the box and the ball was cleared behind. Avelar was proving to be a danger and his well worked cross was touched on by Paul-Jose Ma Poku to Farias at the back post. Milan were bailed out by Antonellia s clearance and the counter attack saw the Rossoneri break the deadlock. Andrea Poli collected the ball and drew several defenders towards him on the edge of the box before playing in Menez. The Frenchman cut the ball away from Godfred Donsah with his first touch before curling a wonderful shot past Zeljko Brkic. Moments later Milan threatened again. A deep Honda free-kick was met acrobatically by Mexes, but the overhead kick was cleared behind. Cagliari were struggling and Milan almost doubled the lead just before half-time. Menez received the ball in a similar position to his goal but rather than shooting, the winger cut back for Marco van Ginkel to blaze over.
Joao Pedro replaced the struggling Alejandro Gonzalez, moving Donsah to right-back. It paid off immediately, as Cagliari equalised straight after the restart. It was a classic counter sparked by Marco Sau, as Farias sent Mexes to ground with a dummy to place his angled drive across Diego Lopez with the inside of his right boot. However, moments later Milan restored their advantage when a corner fell to Mexes for a spectacular volley into the ground, bouncing into the far top corner. Joao Pedro came so close to making it 2-2 on 75 minutes, firing the pull-back from Farias on to the crossbar from 14 yards. Alessio Cerci sprinted towards goal and fell under a sliding tackle. The referee pointed to the spot, though replays show the foul was outside the box and if anything Cerci trod on his leg. Nonetheless, Menez stepped up and sent Brkic the wrong way to convert the penalty. In stoppages it shoulda ve been 4-1, but Cerci rolled across for Giampaolo Pazzini only to nudge the ball straight at Brkic from point-blank range. Cerci went on the counter again moments later against a Cagliari side that had given up defending and this time he went for goal, firing straight at the goalkeeper. Despite the victory, there were still jeers from the few fans present at the final whistle. It was only Milan’s third victory since Christmas and all have been against teams in the bottom three. Milan moved up to seventh with 38 points from 28 games while Cagliari are joint 18th in the 20-team table.