Ibrahimovic scores twice as Milan ease past Cagliari

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Cagliari 0 - 2 Milan

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 Nov. 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.

He wasted no time in getting back among the goals, winning and converting a seventh-minute penalty, before adding a well-taken second seven minutes into the second half, taking his Serie A goal tally to 12 for the season, from just seven starts.

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.

“He is a champion in everything he does. With his comeback we have other tactical possibilities and we are very happy to have him,” AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli told reporters after the match.

“He still manages to surprise me, even though I know him well by now. We must expect the best from him, but today he also did something beyond that.”

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.