Ibrahimovic helps Milan go clear on top

Published January 20, 2021
CAGLIARI: AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (second L) goes for a header during the Serie A match against Cagliari at the Sardegna Arena.—AFP
CAGLIARI: AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (second L) goes for a header during the Serie A match against Cagliari at the Sardegna Arena.—AFP

CAGLIARI: AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice on his first Serie A start since returning from injury, helping his side to a 2-0 win at Cagliari on Monday as the league leaders moved three points clear at the top of the standings.

Ibrahimovic picked up a thigh injury in Milan’s win at Napoli on November 22 that kept him out of action until last weekend when he returned as a substitute against Torino, but the evergreen Swede was fit enough to start in Sardinia.

The 39-year-old wasted no time in getting back among the goals, winning and converting a seventh-minute penalty in Sardinia after being barged over by Cagliari defender Charalampos Lykogiannis.

Davide Calabria hit the post before setting up Milan’s second, seven minutes into the second half, with a long ball over the top for Ibrahimovic to run onto and place into the bottom far corner, taking his Serie A goal tally to 12 for the season, from just seven starts.

“I’m happy, we’ll now be two to scare the opponents,” Ibrahimovic said. “We’re doing well, almost halfway through the championship. Now the most difficult matches are starting.”

The only disappointing aspect to an otherwise comfortable win for Milan was the late dismissal of substitute Alexis Saelemaekers for two yellow cards picked up in quick succession.

Milan are on 43 points, three ahead of city rivals Inter Milan, and 10 clear of champions Juventus in fifth.

Cagliari remain in 17th, just one point above the relegation zone. They are without a win in their last 11 league games.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2021

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