Diaz lead AC Milan to win at Sampdoria in season opener

AC Milan's Brahim Diaz, centre, celebrates after scoring against Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Audero. (Tano Pecoraro/LaPresse Via AP)

MILAN — AC Milan overcame the continued absence of Zlatan Ibrahimović to open its Serie A season with a 1-0 win at Sampdoria on Monday.

Brahim Diaz scored in the ninth minute and Milan's new signing Mike Maignan made a couple of key saves to keep his side in the lead.

Milan was one of only two teams — along with Atalanta — that finished in the top seven last season and kept the same coach.

Stefano Pioli steered the Rossoneri to a second-place finish last season and they could have challenged city rival Inter Milan still further had it not been for injuries to Ibrahimović‡.

The veteran forward is still out after injuring his knee in May and needing surgery.

But Milan took the early lead when Davide Calabria put in a low cross from the right and Diaz's effort squirmed through the hands of Samp goalkeeper Emil Audero.

Maignan had replaced Gianluigi Donnarumma in the offseason after the Italy goalkeeper moved to Paris Saint-Germain and he impressed on his debut, particularly with key first-half saves from Mikkel Damsgaard and Omar Colley.

Manolo Gabbiadini also hit the crossbar for Samp.

Olivier Giroud also made his debut for Milan after the veteran forward joined from Chelsea.


João Pedro scored twice as Cagliari fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Spezia.

Emmanuel Gyasi gave Spezia a seventh-minute lead and Simone Bastoni doubled the visitors' advantage in the 58th.

However, João Pedro pulled one back four minutes later and levelled from the penalty spot four minutes after that after Jeroen Zoet had fouled Leonardo Pavoletti.

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