Rafael Leao scored twice and set up another as AC Milan claimed victory in the Derby Della Madonnina despite a second-half fightback by Inter Milan.
Simone Inzaghi’s side took the lead against the run of play after 21 minutes when Marcelo Brozovic burst through the opposition defense to roll a finish past AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
However, defending Serie A champions AC Milan responded quickly and restored parity through Leao, who found the far corner of the net after Inter conceded possession cheaply in the middle of the pitch.
AC Milan continued to dominate and took the lead nine minutes into the second half, with Olivier Giroud guiding a shot past Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic after good work by Leao down the left.
And Leao scored a classic Milan derby goal to make it 3-1 to the hosts, beating his man with a wonderful piece of skill before sliding the finish into the far corner.
This forced Inzaghi into a series of changes, and Edin Dzeko made an immediate impact off the bench, finishing from a Matteo Darmian cross to give Inter hope of a comeback.
But AC Milan held on to leapfrog their rivals and inflict a second defeat of the season on Inter.
Leao the difference-maker
Leao was voted Player of the Season in Serie A last season as AC Milan took the scudetto, and the 23-year-old was in sparkling form in this derby as he made the difference for his team, scoring twice and assisting another. Inter couldn’t handle his direct running down the left wing.
In this form, there’s no stopping Leao, and AC Milan will need the Portuguese international to be sharp as they start their Champions League campaign next week. At 23, there’s still time for Leao to improve further. On the basis of this performance, he could become one of the best players in the world.
Inzaghi to face questions
Inter were distinctly second best until Inzaghi made changes to his team in the second half. The biggest change saw Dzeko introduced, and the Bosnian striker made an immediate impact, finding the back of the net to give Inter hope of a comeback. From that point on, it was a more open match.
Romelu Lukaku was missing for Inter, and so most expected Dzeko to perform the role he did for Inzaghi last season, but he was overlooked from the start for Joaquin Correa, who did little to influence the match. The Inter manager will face questions about his team selection after this.
Maignan came up big
Had it not been for the actions of Maignan in the final 30 minutes of this match, Inter might have walked away with something to show for their late fightback. Indeed, the French goalkeeper made a series of stunning saves as the away team looked for an equalizer.
Of course, AC Milan fans already know what Maignan is capable of after an impressive debut season for the club last term, but it wasn’t just that he made a number of solid saves — he was a commanding figure in claiming high crosses into his box. When he needed to, Maignan came up big.
AC Milan vs. Inter Milan final score
1H 2H Final
AC Milan 1 2 3
Inter Milan 1 1 2
INT — Marcelo Brozovic — 21 mins.
ACM — Rafael Leao — 28 mins.
ACM — Olivier Giroud — 54 mins.
ACM – Rafael Leao — 61 mins.
INT — Edin Dzeko — 67 mins.
AC Milan vs. Inter Milan updates and highlights from the San Siro derby
Full-time: AC Milan 3, Inter Milan 2
FULL TIME: The Italian champions claim all three points in the derby! They probably deserve it on the balance of the 90 minutes, but Inter did all they could to fight back from 3-1 down. They just gave themselves too much work to do!
90+3 mins: Time is running out for Inter if they are to claim something from this match. AC Milan is easily defending the long balls that are now being played forward.
90+1 mins: Maignan does brilliantly to claim a high cross into the AC Milan penalty area, and the champions are now doing all they can to wind down the clock and ensure that Inter doesn’t get another opportunity to find the back of the net and snatch a point.
90 mins: There will be five minutes of stoppage time played at the end of the match.
88 mins: Will there be one more chance left in this match for Inter to snatch a point? The way this match has been trending, you certainly wouldn’t count against it. AC Milan is sinking deeper. It feels like they are settling for what they have.
86 mins: Inter subs: Darmian and De Vrij OFF, Gosens and D’Ambrosio ON.
84 mins: AC Milan subs: Calabria and Tonali OFF, Kjaer and Pobega ON.
80 mins: This match has become so incredibly open since the changes made by Inter. Inzaghi surely has to regret not starting Dzeko. He has offered a lot of threats when he has been on the pitch. AC Milan isn’t in control of this match as they were not so long ago.
77 mins: WHAT A SAVE! Calhanoglu lines up a shot from 20 yards out, it was heading for the top corner of the net, but Maignan somehow manages to reach it and makes an astonishing save! That will take some beating as the save of the season!
74 mins: Dzeko is denied! Leao, of all people, gives away the ball in the middle of the pitch, and Inter comes flooding forward. But Maignan makes the save with his feet to stop Dzeko from scoring his second goal off the bench. Inter is giving this a right go!
73 mins: AC Milan subs – Messias and Giroud OFF, Saelemaekers and Origi ON
70 mins: Maignan saves! Martinez gets up above Tomori and heads down to the ground. However, Maignan springs into action and makes a reflex save to prevent Inter from scoring an equalizer! What a response this has been from Inzaghi’s team!
69 mins: MARTINEZ… over! All of a sudden, the match is incredibly stretched, and Martinez is released in behind the AC Milan defense. He takes the shot when he might have got himself closer, and the ball flashes over the target!
67 mins: GOAL! AC Milan 3 Inter 2 (67′ Dzeko) – Inter is back in the match, and Dzeko has made an immediate impact off the bench! He gets to the near post and finishes off the pass from Darmian. Inter have given themselves hope of a comeback. What a match!
63 mins: Inter subs – Barella, Bastoni, and Correa OFF, Dzeko, Mkhitaryan, and Dimarco ON. Inzaghi rings the changes, but has he left it too late? Is this match gone for Inter?
62 mins: AC Milan sub – De Ketelaere OFF, Brahim ON. Pioli makes his first change of the match, and Brahim will get the final 30 minutes.
61 mins: GOAL! AC Milan 3 (61′ Leao) Inter 1 – What a goal! Sensational from Leao, who glides past the Inter defender with a wonderful piece of skill and slides the finish into the far corner of the net! AC Milan has a 3-1 lead in the derby!
55 mins: The marking for that Giroud goal was atrocious from an Inter point of view. They had three center-backs inside the area, but none of them picked up Giroud, and he had the time and space to guide home the finish from 12 yards out.
54 mins: GOAL! AC Milan 2 (54′ Giroud) Inter 1 – Giroud loves a goal in a big game, and he has another one here! Leao picked out the French striker, and he struck his shot into the ground, but it had the direction to find the far corner of the Internet!
53 mins: Straight into the wall! Calhanoglu lines up the freekick, but that was below his usual standards. He smashed the strike straight into the wall. The Inter midfielder went for power over placement, and it didn’t work.
51 mins: BOOKING – De Ketelaere. The young Belgian takes a booking for bundling over Correa as he attempts to take the shot.
50 mins: Wide of the post! Theo, not for the first time in this match, gets his head on the end of a free-kick delivery into the box, but he could only guide his effort wide of the target. He had to twist his neck even to direct that towards the goal.
48 mins: Inter has got to do a better job of keeping the ball in this second half. They lost possession cheaply too many times in the opening 45 minutes, and AC Milan made them pay for this by scoring the equalizer.
46 mins: The second half is underway! No changes were made by either manager.
45+1 mins: HALF TIME: AC Milan 1-1 Inter – The two rivals go in level at the break, but AC Milan has had the better of the match so far. Brozovic opened the scoring, but that came against the run of play. Both goals came from defensive mistakes.
45 mins: There will be one minute of stoppage time played at the end of the first half.
42 mins: Theo gets up well and hangs in the air, but he can’t control his header from a Bennacer freekick, and Inter has the goal kick.
40 mins: Tonali takes the freekick, but he strikes it at his own player. Inter needs to do a better job of handling the AC Milan press. They have given the ball away in the middle of the pitch a number of times in this first half. They have been poor since scoring the opener.
38 mins: BOOKING – Brozovic. The referee has been card happy in this first half, and Brozovic is the latest player to be flashed a yellow. He committed a foul on the edge of his box.
35 mins: Tonali! And then Theo! First, Handanovic saves from Tonali, then Theo was a shot flashed just over the target! The momentum is well and truly with AC Milan! Can they make it count? 10 minutes until the halftime break.
34 mins: Giroud shoots over the top! A pass is played in behind for Giroud, the AC Milan striker waits for it to drop and strikes it on the half-volley, but the ball flies over the target! Inter looks vulnerable at the back. The home team looks in the mood now!
31 mins: BOOKING – Giroud. The AC Milan striker is shown a yellow card for a flick-out at Skriniar. Not sure there was much intention in that.
28 mins: GOAL! AC Milan 1 (28′ Leao) Inter 1 – An immediate reply from AC Milan! They won the ball back in the middle of the pitch, Tonali plays the pass out to Leao, and he makes no mistake in shooting across Handanovic and into the far corner of the net!
25 mins: That goal might have come against the run of play, but it was a very well-constructed move by Inter. Pioli won’t be happy with the way the AC Milan defense was split in two, though.
21 mins: GOAL! AC Milan 0 Inter 1 (21′ Brozovic) – Inter have the opener! Brozovic bursts right through the middle of the AC Milan defense, and the Croatian midfielder shows good composure when he needs it to roll the finish past Maignan and into the net!
17 mins: Handanovic saves! This time Leao has the shot himself, but the Inter goalkeeper denies him! AC Milan is starting to cause problems for Inter in the attacking third.
15 mins: Off the bar! So close to an AC Milan goal! Leao creates the space for himself to get the ball into the middle, Bastoni was under intense pressure from Giroud, and the Inter defender crashes a header off his own crossbar! Off the woodwork!
11 mins: Blocked! What an opportunity that was for Inter to open the scoring! The pass was played out to Dumfries by Barella, and the ball came back to Brozovic in the middle, but his shot from inside the AC Milan penalty area was charged down!
9 mins: BOOKINGS – Theo and Dumfries. The referee decided to put down a marker and flash a yellow card to both players for their role in that scuffle.
8 mins: Scuffle! Theo and Dumfries clash, and the two teams end up in a bit of a scuffle. We’re only eight minutes into this Milan derby, and temperatures are already rising!
5 mins: We’re still waiting for the match to settle down a bit. Neither side has been able to take a grip of the contest. However, AC Milan currently has an attack through Leao, but Inter is doubling up on the attacker. He is such a danger!
1 min: The match is underway at the San Siro! It’s AC Milan against Inter in this Serie A fixture.
5 mins to KO: Not long until kick-off at the San Siro. The two teams are walking out onto the pitch ahead of kick-off.
15 mins to KO: That midfield unit of Bennacer and Tonali will be crucial to AC Milan’s game plan. Can they control things in the center of the pitch against the Inter unit of Barella, Brozovic, and Calhanoglu? Which team will look to dominate possession?
30 mins to KO: Inter XI – Handanovic (GK) – Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni – Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Darmian – Correa, Lautaro Martinez.
As expected, Lukaku is missing for Inter. Inzaghi has opted for a frontline of Correa and Martinez backed up by five across the middle of the pitch.
45 mins to KO: AC Milan XI – Maignan (GK) – Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Theo – Bennacer, Tonali – Messias, De Ketelaere, Leao – Giroud.
Messias starts on the right side of the AC Milan attack while Dest isn’t ready to make his debut for his new club following his deadline day move from Barcelona.
60 mins to KO: AC Milan is unbeaten in their last 20 Serie A matches, while Inter has won seven of their last eight matches in the league. These are two teams with a lot of quality! This should be an entertaining encounter!
75 mins to KO: There’s just one point between the two Milan rivals in the Serie A table ahead of kick-off – Inter are above AC Milan. Of course, Pioli’s team is the defending champions, but Inter looks stronger than they did last season. Lukaku is back at the club!
90 mins to KO: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ LIVE coverage of the Serie A derby between AC Milan and Inter. Both rivals have their sights set on the Scudetto this season. This match could set the tone for the rest of the season.
AC Milan vs. Inter Milan lineups
Pioli is without Rade Krunić and Ante Rebic through injury, with Alexis Saelemaekers and Simon Kjær also missing out for AC Milan on derby day.
AC Milan lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan (GK) – Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Theo – Bennacer, Tonali – Messias, De Ketelaere, Leao – Giroud.
Inzaghi is without Lukaku for this tie, with Bosnian veteran Edin Džeko set to replace him, and Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Robin Gosens pushing to return to the starting XI.
Inter Milan predicted lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic (GK) — Bastoni, de Vrij, Skriniar — Gosens, Calhanoglu, Galiardini, Barella, Dumfries— Dzeko, Martinez
Inter Milan subs (9): Cordaz (GK), Onana (GK), Darmian, Dimarco, Correa, Bellanova, Asllani, D’Ambrosio, Agoume
MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest transfer news and rumors: Napoli manager open to the possible signing
What time is AC Milan vs. Inter Milan?
AC Milan plays host to Inter Milan at the San Siro in Milan, Italy. It kicks off at 17:00 p.m. BST on Sat, Sep 3.
UK USA Canada Australia
Date Sat, Sep 3 Sat, Sep 3 Sat, Sep 3 Sun, Sep 4
Time 17:00 BST 12:00 ET 12:00 ET 02:00 AET
How to watch AC Milan vs. Inter Milan
UK, USA, Canada, Australia
TV channel BT Sport 1 – – beIN Sports Connect
BT Sport player/app
Paramount+ fuboTV beIN Sports Connect
UK: Matches are carried across BT Sport streaming and TV platforms.
USA: Selected Serie A matches are televised on CBS Network (English) and Paramount+.
Canada: Every Serie A game streams live and on-demand exclusively via fuboTV.
Australia: Fans in Australia can stream matches beIN Sports Connect.