AC Milan got their season off to a winning start as they beat Sampdoria at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris with a battling performance.
In the end it would be a goal less than 10 minutes into the game that would earn all three points as Milan capitalised on a fast start with Brahim Diaz opening his account after returning on a two-year loan from Real Madrid.
Sampdoria huffed and puffed in their attempts to get level in the game, with their best chance being a free-kick from Gabbiadini that was tipped onto the bar, but ultimately they were wasteful when it mattered as the defence held firm.
The win puts Milan eighth in the table although it is obviously early days, and Cagliari will be the next opponents for the Diavolo as they come to San Siro on Sunday night for a 20:45 CEST kick-off.
Stefano Pioli was forced to make some adjustments to his usual starting line-up, as Rade Krunic had to step in for the fatigued Ismael Bennacer, as Olivier Giroud and Mike Maignan made their first competitive starts for the club.
Milan had the first big chance of the game in the fifth minute of action as a goal kick from Mike Maignan put Rafael Leao in isolation against Yoshida, but Audero produced a remarkable save to deny the Portuguese forward.
In the 10th minute though, the Rossoneri did take the lead and it was thanks to some fantastic work from Davide Calabria. He nicked the ball from Augello and darted for the byline, pulling a perfect pass for Brahim Diaz to finish with a first time shot that squeezed under Audero.
Mike Maignan was forced into two saves in quick succession as Samp went in search of a quick response. The first saw him tip a Gabbiadini free-kick onto the crossbar, and from the resulting corner he reacted brilliantly to stop a flick from Colley after a scuffed shot from the edge of the box. The replay though showed the centre-back to be offside.
Krunic had a big chance to double the lead for Milan in the 26th minute as a shot from Theo Hernandez around 25 yards out was parried into his path by Audero, but the Bosnia international slashed his shot into the side netting at the near post with the keeper scrambling.
Five minutes before the break Olivier Giroud should have got his first ever Serie A goal as Brahim found him with a lovely dink over the top of the defence, and the Frenchman brought it down before seeing his toe-poke saved by Audero. The offside flag went up, yet the replays showed a goal would have stood.
The second half started off in a scrappy nature, with the main chance of the opening exchanges seeing Tonali have a shot blocked by his team-mate in Leao. There were shouts for a penalty on Quagliarella at the other end as he looked to be under pressure when in behind trying to shoot, but Maignan saved smartly down low to his right.
Two minutes before the hour mark, Simon Kjaer had a great chance to double the lead for Pioli’s men. Tonali whipped in a great delivery from just outside the right corner of the box, though the Dane couldn’t direct his free header goalwards despite having time and space.
Calabria was the latest to fire a shot towards goal in the 62nd minute as he collected a feed and switched onto his weaker left foot before fizzing a shot over the bar.
Two substitutions arrived for the Rossoneri with just over 20 minutes to go as Bennacer and Rebic came on in place of Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz.
The game grew in intensity towards the conclusion, and Olivier Giroud felt he should have opened his account when a cross was floated teasingly towards the far post but an excellent defensive intervention prevented an easy far post header.
The third chance came with 10 minutes left on the clock as Alessandro Florenzi came on for his debut, replacing Saelemaekers on the right wing.
The home side pushed hard for the equaliser in the last five minutes, and there was a huge moment of panic when Candreva hit a first time cross-shot across goal that evaded multiple bodies and whizzed out for a goal kick.
A final change followed in the final three minutes as Alessio Romagnoli came on for Davide Calabria, taking the armband in the process.
The last chance of the game came as Rebic tried to place a shot with his right foot inside the far post yet he bent it just wide, and that would be the final chance of the game.