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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Yuto Nagatomo sent off and Inter Milan crushed 4-1 by lowly Cagliari

Japanese captain Nagatmo was sent off with a second yellow early in the match and Albin Ekdal took advantage with a rapid-fire hat-trick in a shocking loss for Inter on Sunday.
Cagliari's Swedish forward Albin Ekdal top, celebrates with his teammates following one of his three goals against Inter Milan on Sunday in a Serie A victory. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP / September 28, 2014
Cagliari's Swedish forward Albin Ekdal top, celebrates with his teammates following one of his three goals against Inter Milan on Sunday in a Serie A victory. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP / September 28, 2014

Cagliari moved off the foot of the Serie A table as Albin Ekdal’s explosive 15-minute hat-trick gave them a famous 4-1 triumph at 10-man Inter Milan.

In a dramatic opening half, Ekdal struck three times shortly after Inter captain Yuto Nagatomo was sent off for two bookable offences as the Sardinian club romped to their maiden win of the season, handing Inter their first defeat in the process.

The visitors took an early lead through Marco Sau, which was cancelled out by Dani Osvaldo, but the game truly came to life following the dismissal of Nagatomo, with Cagliari midfielder Andrea Cossu also missing a penalty as Inter threatened to implode.

Osvaldo had an early chance to break the deadlock, but the on-loan Southampton forward barely had the chance to connect with the ball before the danger was quickly snuffed out by Cagliari’s defence.

And it was the visitors who surprisingly opened the scoring after 10 minutes, with Inter’s defence giving signs of what was to follow.

A long ball forward created havoc, with Nagatomo only able to head the ball on towards Sau, who chested the ball down before turning and firing past a helpless Samir Handanovic.

Rodrigo Palacio was denied by Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, whose goal was breached in the 18th minute when the Argentinian’s quickly-taken free-kick played in an unmarked Osvaldo to score an easy leveller.

Yet the turning point of the match came when Nagatomo received his marching orders. Having been booked moments earlier, the Japan international was sent off in the 27th minute for a late challenge on Cossu.

It appeared a harsh decision from referee Luca Banti, but Cagliari took advantage in ruthless fashion and thanks, in no small part, to some woeful Inter defending two minutes later.

Daniele Dessena’s rasping drive from the right edge of the box was beaten away by Handanovic, but, with Inter unable to clear their lines, Ekdal stole in to score Cagliari’s second.

The Sweden international midfielder struck again in the 34th minute when Victor Ibarbo was allowed to charge into the area before pulling the ball back to Ekdal, who was left to thump the ball into an empty net.

The one-way traffic continued as Nemanja Vidic hacked down Sau in the area, although Handanovic was able to guess right and save Cossu’s poorly taken spotkick.

Yet it was only temporary respite as Ekdal completed his hat-trick to leave a chorus of boos ringing around San Siro, the 25-year-old once again taking advantage of some hesitancy in the Inter area to breach Handanovic’s goal once more.

Inter manager Walter Mazzarri appeared furious and made a double change as Gary Medel and Dodo made way for Fredy Guarin and Danilo D’Ambrosio.

The changes managed to stem the tide as Cagliari posed virtually no threat in the second half, yet Inter were unable to find a breakthrough themselves.

Osvaldo thought he had narrowed the deficit when he converted at the back post from D’Ambrosio’s cross from the right, but Inter’s bad luck continued as the 28-year-old had been ruled offside.

Palacio’s volley from a cross was rebuffed by Cragno, but otherwise Cagliari comfortably held on.

AC Milan were also thwarted in their quest for three points, Cesena holding Filippo Inzaghi’s men to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi.

Adil Rami secured the visitors a point with a 19th-minute equaliser to cancel out Davide Succi’s early opener.

Milan had plenty of chances to claim the spoils from the top-flight strugglers, with Fernando Torres wasting the most straightforward.

Cristian Zapata was sent off for a professional foul in the closing stages to compound Milan’s frustrations.

Napoli survived a late Sassuolo surge to ease the pressure on under-fire coach Rafa Benitez with a 1-0 win at the Mapei Stadium.

With just four points from their opening four encounters, Benitez came into the match with his job on the line after not winning a league match since the opening day of the season.

And the former Chelsea manager will be thankful that the home side did not convert one of their late chances after Jose Callejon gave the visitors a deserved lead.

Fiorentina’s Khouma Babacar grabbed a late equaliser to secure a point for the visitors as they drew 1-1 at Torino.

Senegalese striker Babacar struck 12 minutes from time from the right-hand side of the penalty area after being released by Federico Bernardeschi.

Torino had taken the lead after 62 minutes when Fabio Quagliarella finished Bruno Peres’ pass into the bottom corner of Norberto Murara Neto’s goal.

Chievo’s clash with Empoli also finished 1-1, former Middlesbrough striker Massimo Maccarone teeing up Manuel Pucciarelli to salvage a point for the visitors just before the hour after Riccardo Meggiorini had given the hosts the lead.

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