AC Milan edged Sampdoria in a 1-0 at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday, with Carlos Bacca on target to hand Cristian Brocchi his first Serie A win.
The sacking of Sinisa Mihajlovic had led to the promotion of the former youth team coach to the first-team, as he took charge of his first training session with the squad on Tuesday.
There was much talk about the Italian ringing in the changes ahead of the match, set to reinstate a 4-3-1-2 system. With initial questions on whether it’d be Giacomo Bonaventura or Keisuke Honda tasked with the trequartista role, in the end it was the ex-Atalanta ace who got the nod and produced the assist for Bacca’s goal.
The visitors were off to a promising start even if they failed to find the target. Both Mario Balotelli and Carlos Bacca rattled off shots early on, with the former doing so from a set-piece while the Colombian managed it from open play.
Beyond those however, the Rossoneri overall struggled to create much more in the way of goalscoring opportunities in what was a very stop-start game due to a number of niggly fouls.
There was a moment of fright for Milanese shortly after the quarter-hour mark when Roberto Soriano thought he had broken the deadlock. Fortunately for Brocchi and his troops though, the linesman came to their rescue as the Samp playmaker was flagged offside and had his goal chalked off.
The game sprung to life afterwards, as both sides started threatening and getting closer to testing the goalkeepers. Overall however, the game generally lacked quality as both sides went into half-time still tied at 0-0.
Milan held the territorial advantage and despite benefitting from a number of free-kicks, they seldom made good use of those opportunities.
The entire build-up to the match had been about Brocchi’s new philosophy of play but the Diavolo fans will have been wondering what the whole point was when seeing their team inoffensive from even dead-ball situations.
In fact Samp got themselves a great chance, when Fabio Quagliarella chased down a ball to flash in a shot from a tight angle. Gianluigi Donnarumma was at hand to make the save at the near post and make sure things remained scoreless.
Increased pressure from the Rossoneri eventually paid dividends, as Bonaventura went on a mazy run down the right and found Bacca inside the area. The Colombian made no mistakes, rifling in a shot to put his side 1-0 up on 71 minutes.
The Rossoneri were able to see off the hosts and close out the game for all three points, their first after a run of five games without a win and on a personal note for Brocchi a positive start.
It is a first home game in the Diavolo dugout for Brocchi next, as they play host to Carpi on April 21. As for Samp, they go on the road to the Mapei Stadium where they meet Sassuolo.
Download our mobile app today.