AC Milan continued their perfect start to the Serie A season with a 2-1 win over their city rivals Inter at San Siro on Saturday.
All the action would be in the first half as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in the opening 16 minutes, the first a penalty converted at the second attempt.
However, Romelu Lukaku’s goal made it 2-1 before the break and there were visions of last season’s capitulation, but in the end that would be the last goal.
The result means Milan are top of the Serie A table with the only other ‘perfect’ side in Atalanta being thumped by Napoli earlier in the day.
Stefano Pioli was forced to make some alterations to his usual starting XI as Rafael Leao started in place of Ante Rebic, with Alessio Romagnoli coming in for Matteo Gabbia and Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning up front.
Gianluigi Donnarumma was called into action inside the second minute as Hakimi got past Theo Hernandez and squared, but Gigio did well to parry it to safety.
In the 13th minute, Milan took the lead from the penalty spot. Ibrahimovic was put through on goal and was chopped to the floor by Kolarov inside the area, and the Swede dusted himself off to score from the spot albeit at the second attempt as Handanovic saved the initial effort.
🔥 Not the best penalty, but he got the rebound right!pic.twitter.com/VWiNAksFK2
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) October 17, 2020
Less than five minutes later it was 2-0. Rafael Leao beat D’Ambrosio down the left with some excellent trickery before firing an inch-perfect ball across the face of goal where Ibrahimovic was waiting and had the easy task of poking home at the far post.
😍 That pass by Leao, lovely goal to double the lead!pic.twitter.com/IhKo7F85fg
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) October 17, 2020
Donnarumma was called into action in the 18th minute as Lukaku managed to get some separation inside the area and fire on goal, but it was easily gobbled up.
However, just before the half hour mark Lukaku would get his goal. Perisic found some space down the left and pulled the ball back into a dangerous area where the Belgian was waiting to fire in after the ball had reached him via a flick from Donnarumma.
The Nerazzurri then began knocking on the door, and Kjaer was required to head the ball off the line after Lautaro Martinez’s header back across goal that had Donnarumma beaten. Gigio then saved well from his Italy international team-mate Barella after some neat build-up play involving Lukaku.
Inter had the final two chances of the opening half; the first a shot from Lautaro Martinez outside the area that Donnarumma saved easily, the second a header from Lukaku that was glanced wide after he had been left unmarked from a corner.
Hakimi continued to cause problems down Milan’s left side and he should have arguably shot when he burst past Theo into the box, but he ended up pulling the ball back to nobody after Lukaku left it.
Rafael Leao found space and fired a shot narrowly wide of the near left post with a shot from outside the area, but Inter then continued to dominate, coming close through a header from Hakimi which he should have done better with.
Milan continued to afford Conte’s men plenty of space to run into, and it could have easily cost a goal as Barella’s shot from inside the area was desperately headed wide by Kjaer.
Pioli made a double substitution to respond to the tide of pressure, bringing on Rade Krunic and Samu Castillejo for Leao and Saelemaekers.
Martinez arguably could have done better when he was found at the back post by a cross from Perisic, however the Argentine couldn’t get over the ball and headed wide.
Krunic had a fantastic chance to stamp his impact on the game shortly after coming on as Castillejo found him with a through ball in the 72nd minute, but the Bosnia international fired wide when he simply had to hit the target.
Inter thought they had a chance to level from the spot as Lukaku went down under pressure from Donnarumma, but the Milan No.99 was adamant he didn’t touch him and it was overturned anyway as the Belgian was in an offside position.
The Rossoneri were happy to sit deep and try and catch the Nerazzurri on the break, and Castillejo squandered a couple of situations where there was numerical superiority, while Kjaer also could have done better with a free header from a free-kick.
The home side continued to press and Perisic should have tested Donnarumma when he was found by an excellent cross, with memories of his late equaliser in 2015 all of a sudden flooding back.
Lukaku had two final chances to equalise as he was found by a ball in behind, though the former Manchester United man toe-poked his effort wide of the left post, and then with the final kick of the game he backheeled straight at Donnarumma from inside the six yard box in what was the last action of the game.