By 90Min
January 20, 2018

Milan resume their Serie A campaign with a trip to Cagliari on Sunday, looking to improve upon their poor first half of the season.

Gennaro Gattuso's side won their last league game, beating the struggling Crotone 1-0, but relegation-threatened Cagliari will pose a different challenge for I Rossoneri.

Both sides could do with three points, with Milan still chasing qualification for European football next season and Cagliari currently just five points above the relegation zone.


Here's all you need to know ahead of Sunday's clash.


Classic Encounter

Dino Panato/GettyImages

Nine years ago, Milan's team was nothing to be sniffed at. They boasted Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta in defence, legendary midfielders Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo and Ronaldinho, and an up and coming striker in Alexandro Pato.

As it happens, Seedorf, Ronaldinho and Pato all got on the scoresheet when Milan edged Cagliari in a 4-3 thriller at San Siro on 22 November 2009.

Poor defending saw Milan fall behind to Alessandro Matri and Andrea Lazzari strikes after Seedorf had opened the scoring, but Marco Borriello equalised with a header before a Pato stunner two minutes later took the hosts into half-time a goal to the good.

A well-taken Ronaldinho penalty ensured Milan bagged all three points, despite Nene grabbing a consolation midway through the second half.

Milan went on to finish third in Serie A that season, with Cagliari ending up 16th, nine points above the relegation zone.


Key Battle

Artur Ionita vs Lucas Biglia

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Despite failing to show his best form so far this season, Lucas Biglia is still a dangerous presence in Milan's team.

Expected to start ahead of Riccardo Montolivo, Biglia was one of Serie A's best deep-lying playmakers during his time with Lazio, prompting Milan to part with €17m to secure his services.

He'll be up against Artur Ionita on Sunday, a player in his second season at Cagliari after earning a move to the Sardegna Arena thanks to his form at Hellas Verona.


If the Moldovan allows Biglia to dictate the pace of the game and create goalscoring opportunities, Cagliari will struggle to come away with any points.


Team News

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New signing Leandro Castan will be looking for a start after leaving Roma but could be left out by Luis Diego Lopez in favour of Fabio Pisacane, Luca Ceppitelli and Filippo Romagna.

Joao Pedro is unavailable through suspension, so Diego Farias will continue up front alongside Leonardo Pavoletti.


Andrea Conti, who has played just two league games for Milan this season, remains out through injury, but aside from the Italian's absence Gattuso has a full squad to choose from.


Potential Cagliari Starting Lineup: Cragno, Pisacane, Ceppitelli, Romagna, Padoin, Cigarini, Ionita, Barella, Farago, Pavoletti, Farias.


Potential Milan Starting Lineup: Donnarumma, Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez, Bonaventura, Biglia, Kessie, Suso, Kalinic, Calhanoglu.


Prediction

Milan's away form has been problematic so far this season, but similarly Cagliari have struggled when entertaining travelling opposition.

With Milan struggling in front of goal and at the back, expect Cagliari to cause the visitors plenty of problems through Pavoletti and Farias.

Milan should enough to get a result, but this match is anyone's for the taking.

Prediction: Cagliari 2-2 Milan

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