Italian giants AC Milan recorded a crucial away win over Cagliari on Sunday, as new manager Gennaro Gattuso claimed a second victory in a row for the first time since coming on board last November.
Ivory Coast central midfielder Franck Kessie was the hero of the night after grabbing a brace to hand the Rossoneri all three points, although it was a hard-fought triumph.
Cagliari were up 1-0 by the 8th minute, through Nicolo Barella, whose close range effort flashed past goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Milan responded by pouring men forth and attempting cut in from the flanks, but remained wasteful until the 27th minute when Croatia international Nikola Kalinic was tripped in Cagliari’s box.
Kessie executed the spot kick with aplomb to level the scoreline at 1-1. The former Atalanta man handed Milan the lead four minutes after his equaliser, by bending a successful effort from Nikola Kalinic’s sublime assist.
Gattuso’s charges held the advantage into the break but had to toil all through the second half to conserve their lead.
Donnarumma prevented an effort from set pieces by the 54th minute, while Leonardo Pavoletti bungled two other chances by the 76th and 90th minutes, which could have sealed the winner for the home side.
However, Milan walked away from the Sardegna Arena with full points, although with a man less, like Cagliari. Both Nicolo Barella (Cagliari) and Ricardo Rodriguez (Milan) were sent off for accumulated cards.
Kessie joined Milan in June 2017 on a two-year loan deal with the obligation to buy. He has been a member of the Elephants of Ivory Coast since 2014.