Milan player ratings vs Cagliari: Ibrahimovic decisive, attacking duo crucial

Ibrahimovic Leao Milan Cagliari

Milan secured a 2-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday with goals from Rafael Leao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading us to three important points.

Ahead of Roma hosting Juventus on Sunday, we now move to within 10 points of fourth place in Serie A, and so it was a timely return to winning ways after a slump in form either side of the winter break.

SEE MORE: Five key talking points as Ibrahimovic leads Milan to win over Cagliari

Led by Ibrahimovic in his first start since his return, the Rossoneri put in a much-improved performance after a switch to a 4-4-2, and it’s no surprise that the two goalscorers lead the way in our player ratings.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6 – A decent performance as he dealt with any threat posed to his goal. Did make one rash decision to rush off his line but recovered well to produce an important save.

Davide Calabria, 6 – Better display compared to his effort vs Sampdoria before being forced off, and looked more solid defensively with the system change and benefitted from help from Samu Castillejo.

Mateo Musacchio, 6 – Defended well for the most part in one of his more reassuring performances, nullified the Cagliari threat in the final third along with the rest of the backline.

Alessio Romagnoli, 6 – Similarly to his central defensive partner, they were able to limit Cagliari’s attack and as always, was efficient with his distribution out from the back. A deserved clean sheet for the captain and his troops.

Theo Hernandez, 6.5 – Not quite as threatening as he has been in recent weeks, but that perhaps is a natural knock-on effect from the formation change. That said, still produced the assist for Ibrahimovic’s goal and was a reliable presence down the left flank.

Samu Castillejo, 7 – Showed excellent desire, commitment and determination throughout to put in a real shift for his teammates even if he doesn’t always produce enough quality, while his urgency at the start of the second half was rewarded with an assist for Leao’s goal.

Franck Kessie, 6 – Still doesn’t look comfortable when advancing into a more attacking position, but along with his midfield partner, they provided us with a foothold in the game to maintain a sense of control.

Ismael Bennacer, 6.5 – Grew into the game and became more of a presence for us in the midfield battle. Still susceptible to making a silly mistake in possession or rash challenge, but overall he’s an important piece in our starting XI.

Hakan Calhanoglu, 5.5 – It’s important to acknowledge his defensive work off the ball, which was vital down the left flank to give Hernandez licence to get forward. Deserves praise for that, but in an attacking sense, was too limited before being replaced.

Rafael Leao, 7 – Promising signs in a two-man attack alongside Ibrahimovic, and got a goal as a reward for a good performance. Must still improve his work ethic off the ball and needs more consistency over 90 minutes to be a constant threat as he’s capable, but it was a positive outing with plenty of promise.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 7.5 – The King is back. Unfortunate not to score in the first half as he was a real threat in and around the box to Cagliari, and eventually got himself on the scoresheet with a superb finish. Coupled with his overall influence on our attack even when dropping deeper to offer support as well as his leadership, it’s great to see he’s still capable of being a huge presence for us.

Substitutes:

Giacomo Bonaventura, 6 – Did well filling in on the left side as he offered more composure and calmness to our play in the latter stages of the game.

Andrea Conti, 6 – Difficult situation for him to come back into after his horror show at Atalanta, but did well to come on and keep things tight.

Ante Rebic, N/A