Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s early brace – including a rebound from his saved penalty – allowed Milan to stay top with a perfect record, beating Inter 2-1 in the intense Derby della Madonnina.
This was a battle for the top spot, as the Rossoneri had won all three games without conceding, bringing back Zlatan Ibrahimovic from his COVID-19 bout and Alessio Romagnoli’s first appearance of the season after injury. The Nerazzurri missed Alessandro Bastoni, Milan Skriniar, Roberto Gagliardini, Ashley Young, Radja Nainggolan and Ionut Radu due to Coronavirus, with Stefano Sensi suspended, Alexis Sanchez not fully fit and Matias Vecino injured.
In the opening minute, Achraf Hakimi nutmegged Theo Hernandez to test Gianluigi Donnarumma with a cross-shot, but Aleksandar Kolarov gifted Milan an early penalty for his reckless tackle on Ibrahimovic. Samir Handanovic confirmed his status as the best spot-kick stopper in Serie A, but could do nothing on Ibrahimovic’s rebound tap-in.
The Rossoneri doubled their lead moments later with a perfect counter-attacking move. Davide Calabria charged down two Ivan Perisic crosses, Hakan Calhanoglu’s cross-field pass sent Rafael Leao down the left and his cross was tapped in by Ibrahimovic at the back post.
Inter got back into it with the first goal Milan have conceded in Serie A this season, as Perisic got down the left and pulled it back across the six-yard box for the Romelu Lukaku tap-in from five yards.
Lautaro Martinez thought he had equalised when the header from Hakimi’s cross on the counter looped over Donnarumma, but Simon Kjaer was there to clear off the line.
Suddenly, Inter were pouring forward and Nicolò Barella stung Donnarumma’s gloves, while Lukaku’s free header from a corner whistled inches wide.
Hakimi did everything right going down the left except the pull-back, which was beyond Lukaku and allowed Ismael Bennacer to intercept from Lautaro Martinez.
Rafael Leao drilled wide, but Franck Kessie was perhaps fortunate not to receive a second yellow for his mistimed tackle on Hakimi.
Inter came so close to an equaliser on the hour mark, Arturo Vidal floating a ball to the back post for unmarked Hakimi, whose diving header whistled inches wide of the far stick.
Rade Krunic wasted the chance to finish it off for the Rossoneri, who were largely focused on the counter in the second half, firing over the bar.
There was confusion after Inter were awarded a penalty on 74 minutes. It was a very debatable decision, as Donnarumma did everything possible to get out of the way and Lukaku left his leg trailing, but VAR resolved it anyway by calling offside. Antonio Conte argued Kjaer had played the ball, but it was considered a ricochet more than a genuine pass.
Lukaku threatened again in stoppages after a give-and-go with Barella, sticking out a long leg to prod past both Donnarumma and the far post.
There was one more scare with the last kick of the game, a Lukaku back-heel flick not enough to surprise Donnarumma, as Milan won their first Serie A derby since January 2016.
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Saved penalty: Ibrahimovic 13 (M)