It wasn’t a particularly convincing display, but AC Milan ground out a 2-1 win at Cagliari on Sunday, with Franck Kessie’s brace sealing a comeback victory. The Rossoneri fell behind early on to Nicolo Barella’s strike in a hostile atmosphere, but to their credit, they managed to fight back to seal an important win.
Specifically in the second half, Milan showed plenty of grit and determination, as the game became very scrappy. The quality on the ball wasn’t always there, which made life more difficult, but they matched Cagliari in other departments.
As suggested above, Milan didn’t show enough composure in possession. The game was there to be won, and they deserve plaudits for coming from behind to win, but it could have been much more convincing with more quality on the ball while they rode their luck late on.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Gennaro Gattuso secured his first win away from home, and his organisation of the team was crucial. Needed more attacking quality from certain individuals, while he can’t be faulted for lapses in concentration.
Player ratings out of 10 (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 5 — The conditions undoubtedly made life difficult for him, as the game was even at risk of being called off due to the wind. Whether it was that or just an off-day, he looked uncertain throughout and should have done better on the goal.
DF Davide Calabria, 7 — Did his defensive duties well to deny Cagliari much joy, though he could have been tighter on Barella for the goal. However, he broke forward when possible and showed his versatility by finishing the game on the opposite flank.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 7 — Did well to stand up to Leonardo Pavoletti and nullify his threat. Despite the tricky weather, he managed to spray passes around in what was a solid overall performance from the captain.
DF Alessio Romagnoli, 7 — Just edges Bonucci in terms of being the better of the two centre-halves on Sunday. He was composed on the ball, dominant in the air and attentive in his tackles. It was a top performance from a top player.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 5 — Sent off for two bookable fouls, as he was caught out defensively and was made to pay. Continues to offer little going forward, albeit he is often isolated when in advanced positions, but this was a game to forget for the Swiss international.
MF Franck Kessie, 8 — Tireless, combative and a driving force in midfield as usual, but crucially, he finally paired that with composure in the final third. Took his penalty well, but his finish for the second goal was superb, and we need to see more of that from him moving forward.
MF Lucas Biglia, 6 — One of his better performances since joining the club, as he swept up in front of the defence in an industrious display while keeping things ticking over in possession. Hopefully it’s the start of a good run of form if Gattuso is going to stick with him in the holding midfield role.
MF Giacomo Bonaventura, 6 — Tired toward the end of the game and didn’t always pose a threat. Milan need more from him, as he can be one of the leading figures, but in his defence, he did have his moments.
FW Suso, 5 — Not a great game from the Spaniard, as he failed to really get involved and make his mark. Often caught out in possession or gave away needless free kicks. He has now gone eight games without a goal, and that’s a concern, given how influential he can be.
FW Nikola Kalinic, 7 — To his credit, he played a key role. Battling hard alone up top, he won the penalty before providing the assist for Kessie’s second. Still needs to be more of a goal-scoring threat as he missed two good chances and didn’t offer much else. But it was definitely a bonus that he was involved in decisive moments.
FW Hakan Calhanoglu, 6 — Another step in the right direction. Although he was wasteful in certain situations, he adds a different dynamic to Milan’s play with his vision and distribution when confident. He has to do more and establish himself as a creative hub of the side but a positive outing.
MF Manuel Locatelli, NR — A decent performance in the final 15 minutes or so. He added a boost of energy in midfield to scrap it out with Cagliari.
DF Ignazio Abate, NR — Brought on to add more defensive solidity after Rodriguez’s sending off.
MF Fabio Borini, NR — Little time to have an impact, but as expected, he ran hard in the final minutes to put pressure on Cagliari when in possession.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.