An unchanged side took the pitch with Bennacer still on the bench. An early half chance came from a Saelemaekers cross. Giroud was unable to get a good header on the ball.
Leao missed an excellent chance in the 9th minute, the ball found him free on goal, a very slight hesitation in finding the ball had the defender making a tackling interception and sending the ball out for a Milan corner.
The possession paid off, a disputed freekick near the box on Cagliari’s right was converted by an excellent Tonali freekick, shades of Pirlo. Boris Radunovic couldn’t reach to the near side ball in time.
Cagliari replied very shortly after, a slight marking mix up led to a Alessandro Deiola header that beat Maignan’s stretched hand.
It didn’t take long for Milan to retake the lead. An optimistic Leao shot hit Diaz in the box and bounced down then up into goal.
The 3-1 goal came in the 24th minute. A counter had Diaz with loads of space, the Spaniard found Giroud on the right side and while Cagliari’s defenders drifted to the middle the Frenchman had open wide space to increase Milan’s lead. Cagliari were struggling to keep their shape. The visitors threatened a bit more later in the half, for example off a corner in the 36th minute. Theo looked in better form and Saelemaekers working hard in getting the ball and winning it back.
Late in the half a Leao shot went off to a corner off of Strootman’s elbow, an initial freekick was changed to a penalty on VAR review. Giroud made it 4-1.
The second started with no changes for either tea. Cagliari attempted to wrestle control of the game but Milan looked confident and calm. Players like Saelemaekers regained possession, maintained it and moved around the pitch in confident manner. Leao came close from a long Calabria assist before being subbed out in a triple sub. The Portuguese, Tonali and Saelemaekers made way for Rebic, Bennacer and Florenzi.
Cagliari’s first threat of threat of the second arrived in the 77th minute when a low Charalambos Lykogiannis freekick was punched out by Maignan, in the subsequent action Leonardo Pavoletti came close again. The visitors grew in confidence as Milan relaxed a bit.
Maldini came on for Diaz with 6 minutes left in normal time. Rebic missed the bar after an exchance involving Giroud and Bennacer. Samu came on in added time, for Giroud. The Spaniard could be on his way in the 2 days left in the transfer window.
The returning 50% capacity crowd were given a good show and dominant performance to cheer for.