The Rossoneri began brightly and pinned back the Italian champions almost from the start of the derby, but in the end had nothing to show for it.
AC Milan had an excellent early chance in the ninth minute as they applied a strong press, allowing Alexis Saelemaekers to steal away possession and fire in a shot that Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic punched away.
Almost straight after, Theo Hernandez broke through the middle, playing a one-two with fellow France international Olivier Giroud before hitting a low shot that clipped the outside of the post.
While veteran striker Edin Dzeko looked threatening for Inter whenever he was in possession, there were more clear-cut chances for their city rivals as Rafael Leao was off target with a chance midway through the first half and Rade Krunic had his 38th-minute shot blocked.
Milan made more opportunities after the restart with Leao’s angled shot forcing a fine one-handed stop from the Inter goalkeeper and Krunic had another close-range chance blocked.
A triple change by manager Stefano Pioli kept up the pressure, but AC Milan were guilty of over elaborating and making poor decisions when they had the Inter defence stretched.
Former Italy and Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi admits that the Milan derby was ugly:
‘We need a bit of fun in a moment like this, Inter and Milan didn’t help us.’
“It was a predictable end, but people would deserve more emotions,” Sacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It’s not a nice moment for the world due to the war in Ukraine, so we must have some fun. Milan and Inter didn’t help us.
“Inter and Milan proved to have problems,” the ex-coach continued.
“The pitch seemed too long or too wide. Players were not able to cover it well. It probably signals and a drop of form, honestly more from Inter than from Milan.
“Milan seemed more reactive but also quite messy. Sometimes you must have cold blood and I refer to chances of Alexis Saelemaekers and Theo Hernandez. Like every young player, they are always rushing, but sometimes you need the technique more. Saelemaekers is too frenetic, he goes everywhere on the pitch but is not concrete. Maybe he will be more decisive in a few years.
“Olivier Giroud didn’t do enough and I always expect something more from Rafael Leao. He has incredible potential, but he must make sure to make the most of it.”
Inter host the return leg on April 20 with the winner to meet either Fiorentina or Juventus in the final.