AC Milan 2 Cagliari 1: Suso lifts misfiring Rossoneri to three points
Suso celebrated his first senior Spain call-up with a goal and an assist as AC Milan scraped past Cagliari 2-1 at San Siro on Sunday.
For all the money spent by Milan in recent months, it is 19-year-old academy graduate Patrick Cutrone and Suso - called up by Julen Lopetegui on Friday - who are proving the early season heroes, both scoring for the second week running.
As against Crotone in the Rossoneri's league opener, Cutrone found the net courtesy of a cross from the former Liverpool man, whose stunning free-kick - after Joao Pedro's equaliser - won a game that the visitors largely dominated.
Milan ended the last campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Cagliari and their new-look side were fortunate not to see Cutrone's opener pegged back long before the leveller arrived.
Vincenzo Montella's men had won their first five competitive games of the season - including four in Europa League qualifying - without conceding, but Joao Pedro's second-half strike finally beat Gianluigi Donnarumma to stun the home crowd.
However, Suso stepped up with 20 minutes remaining to brilliantly take all three points and extend Milan's winning run.
A fifth-minute Crotone red card and the subsequent penalty award set Milan up for a gentle start to the league season last week, but Montella's men needed no assistance to secure another early lead here.
Suso dipped inside from the right to deliver a glorious cross onto Cutrone's toe for a simple close-range finish.
Milan looked susceptible to runs in behind at the other end, though, and were fortunate that visiting captain Marco Sau could not steer his unchallenged shot on target, instead striking the base of the right-hand post.
Joao Pedro then dipped a fine effort just over the top-right corner, before Donnarumma clung onto Nicolo Barella's drive as Cagliari continued to push for an equaliser.
A thunderous Cutrone clearance from a corner almost inadvertently teed up a second Milan goal against the run of play as Fabio Borini ran clear to force a good stop from Alessio Cragno.
A poor home performance was extended into the second half, however, and Milan's lacklustre defence finally paid for their carelessness 11 minutes after the restart.
Franck Kessie cheaply gave up possession on the edge of his own area and Cagliari swiftly moved the ball across their front line to Joao Pedro, whose calm finish beat a static Donnarumma.
Predictably, though, the goal woke Milan from their slumber and Suso's majestic 25-yard free-kick restored a scarcely deserved lead.
Cagliari tried to rally again but a game-ending injury to Joao Pedro represented a big blow and Nikola Kalinic debuted for the hosts as they saw out victory after Donnarumma's late save from Sau.