AC Milan took the share of the spoils from the derby as they beat Inter 3-2 in a thrilling game at San Siro on Saturday night.
It was Inter who took an early lead with Marcelo Brozovic capitalised on a defensive error to slot past Mike Maignan, but the equaliser came less than ten minutes later when Rafael Leao finished past Samir Handanovic.
The second half produced three more goals as Olivier Giroud finished first time to get yet another goal in the derby, and then Leao got another goal with a splendid run and finish with the game looking like it was put to bed at 3-1.
Edin Dzeko came off the bench to halve the deficit and make it a very nervous finish, but ultimately the three points would stay with the Rossoneri as they jumped above Inter into top spot for the time being.
AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli made five changes to the side that drew with Sassuolo in midweek as Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Sandro Tonali, Junior Messias and Charles De Ketelaere all came back into the side.
There was an absence of chances in the opening ten minutes but certainly no absence of tension, as Theo Hernandez and Dumfries got into another altercation – picking up from where they left off in the last league game – after the Dutchman had tumbled the left-back over.
The first real chance came in the 12th minute and it was for Inter. A cut-back from Dumfries found Brozovic just inside the box and the midfielder wound up a shot that was crucially blocked by Tonali.
Milan then thought they were inches away from taking the lead when Bastoni headed a cross onto his own crossbar, however the referee has whistled for a pull from Giroud.
Moments later Handanovic was called into action for the first time, producing a save at full stretch to deny a shot from Leao on the end of the box that was curling inside the far post.
It was Inter who took the lead in the 22nd minute, and it came from Brozovic after he had threatened before. Some good hold up play was followed by a feed into the Croatian midfielder whose run through the centre was not tracked, and he slotted past Maignan to open the scoring.
Milan went in search of an equaliser and had a couple of chances in quick succession. The first saw Calabria head over the bar from a Leao cross, and then Giroud turned and fired wide of the near post after bringing the ball down well.
The equaliser had been coming, and it came through Leao. Calhanoglu gave the ball away inside Inter’s half and Tonali seized possession, taking it to the edge of the box before feeding the Portugal international who hammered home first time into the far corner.
A flurry of chances then followed as the Rossoneri really grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. Firstly Giroud again did well to let a ball drop and was unable to find the top corner from the left side of the box, then Theo Hernandez fizzed what would have been a stunning strike just over the bar, and De Ketelaere headed over from a corner when he should have done better.
The opportunities kept coming, with Giroud heading onto the roof of the net after a cross from quite far outside the box, and that came after a free-kick about 20 yards out failed to hit the wall when Tonali would have expected to do better.
No changes were made at the break, and the first big chance of the second half fell to Milan. A free-kick deflected and looped onto the head of Theo Hernandez near the penalty spot, but the Frenchman sent his header just wide of the post with Handanovic rooted.
Milan’s dominance in the game came to fruition as they took the lead nine minutes into the second half. Leao cut a ball back into the area where Giroud had dropped off and was waiting to receive it, and he finished first time with a shot across his body that rolled inside the far post.
The celebrations for the second goal hadn’t even died down by the time the third goal went in as Milan firmly took the ascendancy. A flick from Giroud was collected by Leao, and he got himself through on goal with a winding run that took De Vrij and Bastoni out of the game, finishing calmly past Handanovic to make it 3-1.
In the 67th minute, it was 3-2 as the game twisted once again. Edin Dzeko was brought off the bench and with virtually his first touch he got on the end of a low cross from Darmian to finish in off the post.
The open nature of the game very much continued as Inter began pushing for an equaliser, with Mike Maignan being called into action to deny a header from Lautaro Martinez that was heading in.
A double change was made by Pioli with Alexis Saelemaekers and Divock Origi coming on for Messias and Giroud, with Brahim Diaz having already replaced De Ketelaere.
Maignan made another incredible save to keep out Calhanoglu who took advantage of some confusion with another ball on the pitch to fire from 25 yards with a venomous effort that was flying into the top right corner.
With seven minutes left on the clock, Pioli made his final two changes as Calabria and Tonali were withdrawn in place of Simon Kjaer and Tommaso Pobega, with the team then having a three-man defence.
Leao had his eyes on a hat-trick and he will have wanted the chance back after spinning on the edge of the box and firing well over the bar when there was also the possibility of passing to Pobega.