Milan fought back from a Pablo Daniel Osvaldo strike to beat Roma 2-1 thanks to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace, but lost Thiago Silva to injury.
The Serie A leaders took this match with former Barcelona B manager Luis Enrique’s men as preparation for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final with the Blaugrana. Luca Antonini was suspended, joining the injured Maxi Lopez, Alexandre Pato, Pippo Inzaghi, Robinho, Mark van Bommel, Ignazio Abate, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Cassano and Rodney Strasser. Alessandro Nesta and Kevin-Prince Boateng were only fit for the bench.
Roma welcomed back Francesco Totti, but were without Juan, Nicolas Burdisso, Marco Cassetti, Leandro Greco and substitute goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont. There was the risk of fatigue from the Rossoneri after an extra time Coppa Italia semi-final exit to Juventus midweek, while they hadn't beaten Roma here since 2009.
Maarten Stekelenburg smothered an Urby Emanuelson effort at the near stick, but there was bad news for Milan when Thiago Silva requested a substitution after just 10 minutes due to a slight problem he had in the warm-up. Gianluca Zambrotta came on, moving Daniele Bonera to centre-back.
Stekelenburg fingertipped a fierce Zlatan Ibrahimovic free kick out from under the crossbar, then from the corner the goalkeeper rushed off his line to clear from the Swede’s feet. Stephan El Shaarawy’s volley flashed past the far post, Emanuelson blasted over on the counter and a Sulley Muntari effort was charged down.
Bonera blocked a Totti snapshot and Simon Kjaer stood his ground in a shoulder-to-shoulder with Ibra in the box. Muntari again blasted just over and Ibrahimovic’s header was too weak to trouble Stekelenburg.
Milan went very close on 40 minutes, as El Shaarawy’s angled drive cracked off the base of the far post. It ricocheted into the path of Antonio Nocerino, then Ibrahimovic, but Stekelenburg managed to scramble hold of the ball before it could roll over the line.
Aleandro Rosi’s cross found a Borini header that looped past the far stick and Roma took the lead with their first real scoring opportunity.
Borini got away from Muntari at the corner flag and a poor Massimo Ambrosini clearance came to Daniele De Rossi on the edge of the box. His shot was redirected by Osvaldo at full stretch to toe-poke it past Christian Abbiati from four yards.
Straight after the restart a terrible Abbiati clearance was straight at Totti, but the Roma captain opted for an audacious lob that landed on the roof of the net rather than pick his spot to shoot, wasting a golden opportunity.
El Shaarawy’s powerful but central strike was well smothered by Stekelenburg, then Abbiati palmed away a Marquinho angled drive.
However, De Rossi went sliding in with his arm raised to block an Ambrosini shot in the box, so the referee pointed to the spot. Ibrahimovic stepped up and beat his former Ajax teammate by sending Stekelenburg the wrong way.
Boateng made his comeback in place of Emanuelson, while Roma’s double substitution introduced Bojan Krkic and Miralem Pjanic for Borini and Totti.
A deflected Djamel Mesbah effort whistled past the post, but Stekelenburg performed a splendid save at the near stick to deny Ibra’s angled drive after a well-worked Milan move.
Moments later Muntari’s screamer of a volley was fingertipped on to the crossbar by an unstoppable Stekelenburg. The Ghanaian let a knock-down bounce and smacked it on the volley, as even with the Stekelenburg deflection it rattled the woodwork with remarkable ferocity.
Osvaldo failed to make the most of a Pjanic free kick by nodding over, while the Pjanic effort bounced right in front of Abbiati, making the save tricky.
Milan took the lead for the first time in the game when Ibrahimovic ran on to a long ball to leave Kjaer behind, flicked it over an on-rushing Stekelenburg and nodded into an empty net from a couple of yards with an audacious finish.