Inter Milan 1-0 AC Milan: Fredy Guarin scores only goal in derby
Last Updated: 14/09/15 10:05am
A second-half goal from Fredy Guarin saw Inter Milan edge city rivals AC Milan 1-0 on Sunday evening to pick up a third consecutive win and go clear at the top of Serie A.
The Colombian midfielder broke the deadlock in the 58th minute with a left-footed shot that beat AC Milan goalkeeper Diego Lopez.
Mario Balotelli, playing in his first league game since returning to AC Milan on loan from Liverpool, entered the action four minutes later and almost equalised in the 78th minute.
The Italian striker drilled a bullet strike from 25 yards that rattled the left-hand post.
Inter held on to earn victory in the first San Siro showdown of the season.
The win sees Inter, who were hosting the game, move two points clear at the top of the table - a position they had not held alone for five years.
AC Milan, meanwhile, slipped to a second defeat of the season to drop to 12th place.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini handed new signings Ivan Perisic and Felipe Melo starting debuts.
Stevan Jovetic, who had scored all three of Inter's goals this season going into the game, partnered Mauro Icardi in attack, with the Argentinian returning from a hamstring injury.
As expected, AC Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic left Balotelli out of his starting XI, opting to play with Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano in attack.
The Rossoneri enjoyed a strong start and Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was forced to come off his line to clear a dangerous ball from Bacca with Adriano ready to pounce.
Bacca then sent Adriano clear on goal but Juan Jesus made a crucial tackle before the Brazilian could take his shot.
In the 31st minute, Keisuke Honda struck a left-footed shot from the edge of the area that was kept out by Handanovic.
Inter twice had the chance to move in front before the interval. Jovetic saw an effort go wide and shortly afterwards he set up an unmarked Icardi in the area and the Argentinian saw his close-range shot kept out by Lopez.
Inter almost went ahead 10 minutes after the restart but Guarin's header from Perisic's cross was pushed over the crossbar by Lopez.
The AC Milan goalkeeper could do nothing as Inter went in front three minutes later.
Davide Santon fed Guarin just outside the area and he drilled a left-footed shot towards the near post and out of the reach of Lopez.
In the 69th minute, Juan was stretchered off following a hard challenge by Juraj Kucka and was replaced by debutant Alex Telles.
Two minutes later, Icardi almost doubled Inter's lead but saw his close-range header fly wide.
AC Milan looked more dangerous with Balotelli on the pitch.
After being denied by the post, Balotelli then forced Handanovic into a full-stretch save to clear his powerful free-kick eight minutes from time.
Inter defended deeply and held on for victory.