Captain Mauro Icardi on Sunday struck a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Inter stunned AC Milan 1-0 in the derby at the San Siro to retake third place in Serie A.
The Argentine pounced on a mistake by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to nod home in the second minute of stoppage-time after an otherwise forgettable match, leaving Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan without a win in the past five league derbies.
Inter continued their recent resurgence under Luciano Spalletti after finishing fourth last season to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2011-2012, moving to within six points of leaders Juventus, who drew 1-1 with Genoa on Saturday.
“I came here to win, not to just sit on a bench for a season and try to bring home a salary,” former AS Roma coach Spalletti told Sky Sport Italia. “I came here to organize the future of Inter and the players must do the same. I liked that after the final whistle, Icardi said we must find consistency and keep pushing. Inter chose us to bring this side back to the level that the fans deserve.”
However, there was an injury blow for Inter ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash against Barcelona, with Radja Nainggolan substituted midway through the first half after tangling with Milan midfielder Lucas Biglia.
“Nainggolan has been chopped down,” Spalletti said. “We have to take him to the hospital and see. He won’t be with us for a while.”
Milan remain down in 12th after seeing their eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions ended.
Icardi had the ball in the net early on, but the striker’s effort was ruled out for offside after a check with the video assistant referee.
Although the opening stages of the game were not overflowing with attacking quality, there was plenty of niggle, with Biglia left incensed after he was booked despite appearing to have been stamped on by Nainggolan before the Belgian hobbled off.
Nominal home side Inter looked the more likely to find a breakthrough in the first half, with Ivan Perisic seeing a header palmed away by Donnarumma and Stefan de Vrij striking the crossbar with a twisting volley.
Out of nowhere Milan thought they had taken the lead shortly before halftime, but it was Mateo Musacchio’s turn to be denied by an assistant referee’s flag.
Inter had a couple of second-half chances from set-pieces, with Matias Vecino nodding over and Perisic seeing a thunderous strike blocked.
The game appeared to be petering out into a goalless draw, but Donnaruma came and failed to claim a speculative cross from Vecino, and Icardi headed into the unguarded net to score his fourth league goal of the campaign and spark jubilant scenes among the Inter fans in the stands.
“We lost the game together, not because of Donnarumma,” Milan coach Gattuso said. “We lost because we didn’t play with the right courage, we were distracted and conceded a naive goal.”
Earlier on Sunday, late goals from Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa gave SS Lazio a 2-0 win at Parma.
Promoted in each of the three seasons since their bankruptcy, Parma have impressed this season, but their late capitulation saw the visitors move into the top four.
Former Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura returned to coaching, but failed to guide bottom side AC Chievo Verona to their first win.
Relegation rivals Atalanta BC ripped Chievo apart in a 5-1 home mauling for Ventura.
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