AC Milan’s Champions League hopes suffered a blow after they played out a scoreless Serie A draw with Cagliari at the Stadio San Siro on Sunday night.
The result, against a Casteddu side that had already been assured of their top-flight survival earlier in the day, keeps Stefano Pioli’s side in the top four with one matchday left – a trip to Atalanta, who are already assured of a place in next season’s Champions League – but reduces their chances with Juventus hot on their heels after their win against champions Inter.
The first real chance of the game came the way of Alexis Saelemaekers on the 18th minute, but his long-range drive was dealt with in a routine manner by Alessio Cragno.
Davide Calabria let go with his own sledgehammer of an effort on the 30th minute although it didn’t hit the target, Cragno watching this one sail just wide of his top-righthand corner.
Cagliari grew into the game as the half went on, buoyed by the fact that they were no longer fighting for survival – following Benevento’s draw with Crotone earlier in the day – and began to show the confidence of a team without a huge weight on its shoulders.
However, neither side could manage to create a telling chance, and the half ended goalless.
Casteddu had a huge chance to take the lead early in the second half when Joao Pedro crossed for Leonardo Pavoletti who rose well to head towards goal, but Gianluigi Donarumma pulled off a great, instinctive save to deny the striker.
Diego Godin got on the end of a Razvan Marin corner, but his headed effort was kept out magnificently by Donarumma as Leonardo Semplici’s team continued to show what they can do.
The Rossoneri pushed desperately as the game drew to a close, knowing that three points could eventually define their season, but the Sardinian side held strong on what was a fantastic day for all involved with the club as they guaranteed their place in Serie A, which is a fete that had at one point in the season seemed impossible.