Mauro Icardi made the most of a Gianluigi Donnarumma error to give Inter a deserved Milan Derby win deep into stoppages.
This was a huge showdown even by Derby della Madonnina standards, as a win would put the Rossoneri just one point behind their rivals with a game in hand. Sime Vrsaljko and Matias Vecino shook off knocks to start, with Matteo Politano preferred to Antonio Candreva. Davide Calabria got the nod ahead of Ignazio Abate and Mateo Musacchio replaced not fully fit Mattia Caldara.
The Inter choreography was a huge snake, the symbol of the club, while Milan responded with two red hands tearing the snake apart.
Mauro Icardi had the ball in the net after 10 minutes, but the offside flag was up, as Vecino got the slightest of touches to Marcelo Brozovic’s cross.
Gianluigi Donnarumma palmed an Ivan Perisic header round the post, but there was controversy when midfield warriors Radja Nainggolan and Lucas Biglia both went into a crunching tackle. The Milanista was booked and they were both hobbling, but the Belgian had to limp off to make way for Borja Valero.
Inter were again more dangerous on 34 minutes when hitting the frame of the goal, as on a deflected corner Stefan de Vrij’s volley looped up to bounce off the top of the far post with Donnarumma stranded.
Icardi at full stretch just failed to get on the end of a Vrsaljko cross-shot, then he was about to pull the trigger on a Marcelo Brozovic through ball, Alessio Romagnoli flung himself in the way for a decisive block.
Milan also hit the back of the net only to see it disallowed for offside in a repeat of the earlier Inter chance. This time a short corner was flicked on by Romagnoli for Mateo Musacchio at full stretch to tap in at the back post.
Vecino missed a sitter, ballooning over the Perisic pull-back from the by-line when unmarked from 12 yards.
Politano scuffed a volley wide with his weaker right foot, then Donnarumma was almost taken by surprise on a Biglia back-pass and had to scramble back to clear it from an open goal.
Perisic also had to limp off with a muscular problem and both teams looked increasingly tired in the second half. Suso’s scuffed finish was easy pickings for Handanovic, while Donnarumma fingertipped the ball off Borja Valero’s head and a Ricardo Rodriguez cross-shot nearly crept in at the near post.
Just as it seemed to be over, Donnarumma was unsure whether to come or go on a Vecino cross, did neither and allowed Icardi to nod into the empty net.
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