Inter took their chances well to beat a spirited 10-man Fiorentina and celebrate their first home win of the season.
The Nerazzurri were hoping to end the ‘San Siro curse’, but welcomed Fiorentina, who were arguably the form team in Serie A so far this season.
Wesley Sneijder, Rodrigo Palacio, Cristian Chivu, Dejan Stankovic and MacDonald Mariga were all on the treatment table, while the Viola missed Alberto Aquilani, Mounir El Hamdaoui and Francesco Della Rocca. Andrea Stramaccioni stuck with the new 3-5-2 system that was tested out midweek.
Fiorentina had lost their last 11 consecutive trips to the Meazza, scoring six goals and conceding 23.
Juan Cuadrado went on a mazy run after Romulo’s back-heel, but slightly over-hit the pass for Stevan Jovetic who had got in behind the defence.
Philippe Coutinho pounced on a poor clearance for a snapshot deflected just past the post, then from the corner a spectacular Esteban Cambiasso volley whistled wide when unmarked.
Inter pushed forward with Coutinho, whose cross was flapped away by Emiliano Viviano and as it continued Javier Zanetti’s flick was charged down by Gonzalo Rodriguez’s arm. Diego Milito took penalty duties and beat the goalkeeper to break the deadlock.
Milito thought he was going to celebrate another on the counter 60 seconds later when he hooked down Antonio Cassano’s pass over the top, but El Principe could only smack his ferocious shot against the crossbar.
Samir Handanovic palmed a deflected Adem Ljajic free kick round the near post, then Borja Valero was caught out to spark a very dangerous counter-attack, but Milito forced a fine save out of Viviano when sent clear by Cassano.
The Fiorentina defence was leaving big gaps and Inter took full advantage on another counter-attack. Cambiasso’s run pulled two defenders towards him, leaving Cassano acres of space down the left to slot in at the near post. FantAntonio celebrated by sucking his thumb after revealing this week that wife Carolina is expecting their second child.
Coutinho aimed another counter-attack straight at Viviano, but Fiorentina pulled one back before half-time with Romulo’s debut Serie A goal. David Pizarro was given too much time to amble forward and pick his pass for a precise Romulo header into the far bottom corner.
Moments later it was nearly 2-2, as Jovetic got to the by-line and pulled back for Ljajic, but Handanovic bravely dived at his feet to block from five yards.
Milito had the chance to restore the two-goal cushion too, but curled wide from the edge of the box from a Cassano assist.
Mati Fernandez replaced Ljajic for the second half and Fiorentina were fired up as Romulo drilled wide and they held possession, but their hopes of a comeback were hit hard when Gonzalo Rodriguez went into a needless sliding tackle on Yuto Nagatomo for his second yellow card.
Milito sprung the offside trap from a Cassano through ball, but Viviano got a hand to turn it wide from the tightest of angles. El Principe then forced another great Viviano reaction save from point-blank range.
A scuffle broke out from a set piece between substitute Luca Toni and Walter Gargano, but calm was quickly restored. Fiorentina continued to push despite playing with 10 men, but a few late free kicks could not break down the determined Nerazzurri.
Sent off: Rodriguez 62 (F)