Serie A - Milan outclass Palermo
AC Milan returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over a dispirited Palermo side in Serie A at the San Siro.
Prior to the start, Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri declared this match against Palermo as a must-win game for his side - given that Milan had only taken five points from their opening five Serie A matches - and, accordingly, the Rossoneri set about dictating the tempo and forcing their high-flying Sicilian opponents back from the off.
Cassano slid the ball wide of Alexandros Tzorvas's far post in the 14th minute, after the ball kindly pin-balled its way into his path and then, moments later, the former Sampdoria striker forced Palermo's Greek keeper into a good smothering save with a low shot at the near post.
Tzorvas was to endure a busy opening 45 minutes, with his standout moment coming just before Milan edged in front.
In the 39th minute, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had formed an effective attacking triumvirate for Milan along with Cassano and Robinho, floated over a cross to his Brazilian strike partner who had arrived at the back post coming in off the left flank.
Robinho's first-time strike was parried back into his path by Tzorvas and the keeper then showed great reactions in getting back up and deflecting the follow-up effort around his post in a quite brilliant double-save.
But the breakthrough for Milan was to come shortly after Tzorvas's heroics. Ibrahimovic again floated another pinpoint cross over to the back post where, this time, Alberto Aquilani was waiting to head the ball across goal for Nocerino to dive onto and slide home from just a few yards out.
The goal was greeted with muted celebrations from Nocerino, who had only joined Milan from Palermo on deadline day of the Italian summer transfer window.
Palermo continued to offer little as an attacking presence with the midfield failing to adequately support Abel Hernandez's forward surges, and the ineffectual Fabrizio Miccoli being replaced by the equally uninspiring Edgar Alvarez at the start of the second-half.
And so it was Milan who went from strength to strength. Ibrahimovic, who had been excellent throughout with his clever movement and final delivery, slid Robinho through on goal in the 55th minute and the Brazilian calmly sent the ball with the outside of his foot past the on-rushing Tzorvas for the Rossoneri's second.
The visitors' misery was then complete nine minutes later. Robinho playing in Ignazio Abate down the Milan right flank, whose cut back was eventually met by a back-tracking Cassano; cleverly turning and firing home in one swift move from ten yards out.
Cassano's finish putting the icing on a comprehensive victory for Milan - only their second of the current campaign - and one which Allegri and the Rossoneri faithful will be hoping will kick-start their ascent up the Serie A table.