The breathless encounter at the San Siro was an end to end affair that saw 37 shots on goal, with AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan performing superbly to prevent Inter taking a point.
Marcelo Brozovic had opened the scoring for Inter and then Leao took over. The Portuguese international, who turned 23 in June, opened his account by levelling from Sandro Tonali’s pass after Croatia midfielder. He then crossed for Olivier Giroud to score, before beating two defenders to add Milan’s third.
Edin Dzeko brought Inter back into the game but Stefano Pioli’s side held on to move top of Serie A.
Inter, who were without the injured Romelu Lukaku, sit sixth in the table, level on nine points with Juventus after their second defeat in the opening five matches.
Afterwards, Milan boss Stefano Pioli explains how Milan ‘surprised’ Inter with their ferocity in the duels:
“Clearly, this was a head-to-head clash, there has always been rivalry, our opponents wanted to prove they were superior for many reasons,” the coach told DAZN.
“I am very satisfied with the attitude of the team, we dominated for 70 minutes, but once we relaxed a little, we started to run risks.
“These lads continue to amaze me with their desire, energy, talent and eagerness to learn. I am truly a happy coach.”
Milan seemed to be playing in a completely different gear to Inter for at least an hour, but following the substitutions from both sides and the Dzeko goal, it shifted.
“Inter let us pass it around, we didn’t have to press them too hard. We had aimed to break more down the left, at times we did well, but above all the team showed great maturity against a very strong opponent. It’s not possible to dominate for 95 minutes, but we showed great determination and presence.
“We realised every ball could be decisive and faced this game with the right attitude.”
“We’ll do different things, as Inter have a completely different approach to their tactics and shape, but what really matters is the mentality of my team. We try to find situations that can create a slight advantage, but our identity remains the same.
“I think Inter expected us to press them a lot higher than we did, but we surprised them. I knew they would play two quick strikers and so with their qualities, we preferred to sit a little bit deeper, but then put even more energy and ferocity into the individual duels.”
Inter boss Simone Inzaghi insists that his side ‘did enough to earn a draw’ against Milan, but they were unable to make up for the ‘half-hour blackout’ at San Siro.
“It started a balanced game, then we scored a fine goal, after the equaliser we had a half-hour black-out that cost us another two goals,” Inzaghi told DAZN.
“We scored two wonderful goals, but conceded three that we absolutely cannot afford, we should not concede, especially not in a derby. At the end we lost.
“Considering everything we created, we probably deserved a draw, but I am the coach and the first to be held responsible for that half-hour that left to be desired. In such an important match, we should’ve done better.”
It is the second defeat of the season after the 3-1 away to Lazio, which had some similarities, particularly in the lack of intensity and confidence.
“They were two different games. We struggled to score tonight, were up against a fantastic goalkeeper, and once again we concede goals far too easily. I am the coach, so I need to figure out how we can resolve that problem.
“In order to win the derby, you have to do more. After the substitutions we did better, but the fact is during that half-hour we conceded two goals and were unable to make up for it.”