Ricky Kaka scored twice as Milan got the New Year underway in a positive manner with their 3-0 win over Atalanta at the San Siro on Monday afternoon.
The Brazilian was denied of a hat-trick, while Atalanta hit the woodwork as the Rossoneri ended a winless run with a convincing scoreline.
Milan suffered a blow ahead of the important clash when both Riccardo Montolivo and Mario Balotelli pulled out with injury and sickness respectively, while Sulley Muntari was missed the encounter through suspension.
The opening goal should have come as soon as the third minute when a ball was crossed to Robinho in at the near post. The Brazilian however failed to hit it on target, smacking the ball into the side netting.
A second chance then fell to the Rossoneri four minutes later when Alessandro Matri crossed the ball in the box to Bryan Cristante, who also failed to direct it on target from close range.
The youngster was then denied by the crossbar after just 12 minutes of play, before Luca Cigarini forced Christian Abbiati into making a save from his curling free-kick into the box in the 20th minute.
Milan’s persistence finally paid off ten minutes from the break when Ricky Kaka made it 1-0 after rounding Andrea Consigli to slot home a through ball Urby Emanuelson. That strike was the Brazilian’s 100th goal for the Rossoneri.
Atalanta nearly got the equalizer just moments later when Cristian Raimondi struck the upright, but they went into the break chasing a lead.
German Denis had a chance to find the equalizer against at the start of the second-half with his curling strike that sailed over the frame of the goal.
The Nerazzurri thought they had made it 1-1- when Yohan Benalouane nodded home a cross past Abbiati in goal but it wasn’t given due to an infringement on Philippe Mexes in the 52nd minute.
Milan were nowhere and they needed a terrific save by Abbiati to keep their lead in check when the shot-stopper brilliantly cleared away German Denis’ toe-poke off the line.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men extended their lead to 2-0 just after the hour mark when Kaka got his second goal of the afternoon with a low slice past Consigli at the near post. All against the run of play.
With a bee in their bonnet, Milan made it 3-0 just two minutes later after Cristante beat Consigli with a low drive to score on his first start for the club.
The Atalanta shot-stopper denied Andrea Poli from making it goal number four for Milan with his save at the near post just minutes from the full time.