Serie A: Sampdoria 0 Milan 2

Adel Taarabt played a starring role as Milan cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over 10-man Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday.

The Moroccan, who joined on loan from Championship outfit QPR during the January transfer window, scored the first goal of the game 12 minutes in and helped to create the second as Milan won at Sampdoria in the league for the first time since October 2007.

Taarabt opened the scoring early in the first half, poking home at the second attempt after being picked out by Adil Rami's right-wing cross.

The roles were reversed just before the hour mark, Taarabt's delivery eventually finding the Frenchman to nod home at the back post after Giampaolo Pazzini had challenged home goalkeeper Angelo Da Costa for the ball.

Sampdoria substitute Maxi Lopez was dismissed 20 minutes from time, the Argentinian picking up two bookings for dissent in quick succession to compound a miserable day for the hosts.

The result continues Milan's recent resurgence, with the San Siro outfit having now taken 13 points from Clarence Seedorf's six league games in charge.

Samp coach Sinisa Mihajlovic called on his side to show an improved attitude before the game, but in truth they showed little attacking threat as they fell to a first home defeat under the Serbian.

Milan showed nine changes from their UEFA Champions League defeat in midweek, Mario Balotelli and Mattia De Sciglio absent through injury while goalkeeper Christian Abbiati missed out with illness, Marco Amelia coming in.

And it was the two men who kept their place from Wednesday's defeat that combined for the opening goal on 12 minutes.

Taarabt and Pazzini had already threatened for the visitors before Rami picked out the Moroccan from the right, and although he saw his free header saved by Da Costa, the playmaker reacted quickest to prod home his second goal since moving to Serie A in January.

After an open first 20 minutes, goalmouth action became increasingly scarce as the half wore on, Riccardo Saponara's volley narrowly over the crossbar in the 39th minute the closest either side came before the break.

Samp made a brighter start to the second period, but Rami doubled Milan's advantage in controversial circumstances in the 58th minute.

As Taarabt crossed from the right, Pazzini challenged Da Costa for the aerial ball and with the keeper flattened, Rami was able to nod home into the unguarded goal.

Lopez, introduced 15 minutes earlier, saw red in the 72nd minute as Samp's frustrations boiled over though Eder showed some positive play, only to be denied twice by Amelia in the final stages.

The result leaves Milan five points adrift of rivals Inter in the final UEFA Europa League qualifying spot as Seedorf and his men look to salvage something from a turbulent season.