Inter holds off AC Milan for 3-2 derby win

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Inter lept AC Milan into third in the Serie A table with an exciting 3-2 win at the San Siro over AC Milan.

The result not only saw the two sides swap places in the table, but also ended a 10-match unbeaten run by AC Milan in the series.

Matias Vecino bagged the opener just three minutes in to put Inter in front, with the easiest of tap-ins after Ivan Perisic sent in a curling cross to the far post where Lautaro Martinez was waiting, and his contested header came back across the face of goal to Vecino on the doorstep.

That would be the score at halftime, but just six minutes after the break Stefan de Vrij produced a fabulous header as Inter played a short corner, working a delivery for Matteo Politano which saw de Vrij rise highest to meet it and float his header inside the near post.

Tiemoue Bakayoko, in better form since the turn of the calendar year, pulled AC Milan one back just six minutes later with his first AC Milan goal as he powered home a header off a laser beam free-kick from Hakan Calhanoglu straight down the center. It seemed the game was destined for a wild finish until Samu Castillejo felled Matteo Politano in the box, and Martinez deposited the penalty powerfully for a 3-1 Inter lead.

AC Milan again pulled within one as Mateo Musacchio finished off a messy goal in the 71st minute, but they could not find a way back level despite heavy pressure forward. In the dying seconds of stoppage time, Samir Handanovic was required to produce a wonderful reflex save on a Castillejo header at the far post, and Danilo D’Ambrosio blocked an even later shot from Patrick Cutrone before the final whistle.

Inter’s win is vital, given they had occupied the final Champions League spot and were looking over their shoulder to fend off Roma, Lazio, and Atalanta, but now that is AC Milan’s problem. Inter moves into third on 53 points, seven back of second-placed Napoli, while AC Milan remains on 51 points, six above fifth-placed Roma.