Carlos Bacca finds the decisive goal for AC Milan as they defeat Cagliari at home to begin 2017.
Here is how we rated the individual performances of the Rossoneri on Sunday.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (7.0): On his 50th appearance for Milan, Donnarumma had very little work to do in goal. Thanks to the efforts from Paletta and Romagnoli, the 17-year old adds another clean-sheet to his name.
Ignazio Abate (n/a): Abate left the game early in the first half after a vicious challenge from Bruno Alves. He was replaced by Luca Antonelli.
Gabriel Paletta (7.5): Paletta did very well in ensuring Cagliari were no threat to Donnarumma’s goal. Calm in the build-up from the back, the Italian continues to string together solid performances.
Alessio Romagnoli (8.0): Romagnoli, like his partner Paletta, covered his ground extremely well in the victory. The Sardinians posed no threat for the majority of the match, and the young Azzurri star was a big reason why that was the case.
Mattia De Sciglio (7.0): After switching flanks due to Abate’s injury, De Sciglio did not skip a beat. He contributed to the build-up and fulfilled his defensive duties on the back end.
Mario Pasalic (6.0): The Chelsea loanee has enjoyed better days in a Milan shirt. Out of the midfield three, Pasalic contributed the least to the cause.
Manuel Locatelli MOTM (8.0): On his 19th birthday, Manuel Locatelli was superb. In possession, he looked as confident as can be, especially when he identified his target. Locatelli stepped up big time on the offensive end but was clinical in combatting Cagliari on the counter. Adriano Galliani earlier today said the regista role will be addressed internally. Maybe that’s because Locatelli is continuing to show signs of growth and maturity.
Giacomo Bonaventura (6.5): Bonaventura was a bit disappointing today. He was strong on the ball and did well in the final phase, but his crosses lacked that crisp delivery.
Suso (7.0): The Spaniard was on his game once again in the narrow win over Cagliari. Suso remained confident in the attack and delivered countless crosses that were nearly met with Bacca at the far post. Even though his move is often predictable, it’s one that is difficult to contain.
Carlos Bacca (7.0): Bacca was average to begin 2017. He did better to get involved in the attacking phase by positioning himself for more touches. A few crosses he could not latch onto. But because he continued to work, Bacca was richly rewarded. The Colombian’s first goal since October proved decisive for the Rossoneri. The hope is that with his scoreless drought over, Bacca can begin scoring with more regularity.
M’Baye Niang (6.5): The first half looked a bit more promising for Niang. However, his decent runs and nicely executed back-heels were not enough to diminish the lacking end-product. The Frenchman continues to struggle while the club explores the market for winger help.
Luca Antonelli (6.5): In place of the injured Abate, Antonelli did a standup job on both ends. He does not possess the same sprinter speed that Abate does, however the former Genoa fullback covered his duties.
Andrea Bertolacci (6.5): Bertolacci replaced Bonaventura mid-way through the second interval. Although he did not shine, it must be said that the ex-Roma man does look much sharper under Montella than he did last year with Mihajlovic.
Gianluca Lapadula (7.0): This match was calling for Lapadula. Montella’s final sub came on for Pasalic as Milan moved everyone forward in search of the win. Sure enough, the former Pescara star managed to get a slight touch on the ball, putting Bacca in on goal for the winner. Montella must examine the idea of playing Lapadula with Bacca moving forward as the journeyman provides tremendous link-up play.