AC Milan beat their rivals Inter Milan in a tight derby at the San Siro on Sunday. A second-half goal from Nigel de Jong proved enough for the rossoneri to take victory in a game where goalscoring chances were few and far between.
The Derby della Madonnina rarely lives up to the billing, and the first half of this edition was no different. The opening was a scrappy, low-quality affair, in which neither goalkeeper had much to do. But as the half wore on, AC Milan began to look a little more confident, capable of controlling the game in the midfield while Inter sat deep. Their best chance came after 25 minutes when Adel Taarabt picked out an overlapping run from full-back Mattia De Sciglio, though his effort hit the side netting.
Taarabt and Kaká were often at the centre of what little invention and spark there was in the game, and the latter almost produced an individual moment of brilliance later in the first half. Unfortunately, his dipping effort from the edge of the area rocketed back off the crossbar with Samir Handanović beaten, and the game stayed deadlocked. The duo combined to create another chance on the stroke of halftime, though Kaká put his Moroccan teammate's cross over.
The little control Milan seemed to have disappeared by the time the second half got underway, with the game having regressed back to its earlier fragmented phase. However, the rossoneri still looked threatening from set pieces, with Philippe Mexès firing a warning shot with a powerful header on a Kaká corner just short of the hour mark. It was a warning Inter failed to heed, eventually conceding on a free kick five minutes later; de Jong leaping to head a Mario Balotelli's cross past Handanović.
Milan thought they'd doubled their advantage just a few minutes later, only to see the offside flag raised after Giampaolo Pazzini had prodded the ball into the Inter goal. However, it didn't matter, with the rossoneri holding on for three points that could prove vital in the race for the final Europa League place.
AC Milan: Abbiati; Constant (Abate 85'), Mexès, Rami, De Sciglio; Montolivo, De Jong, Poli (Muntari 72'); Kaká (Pazzini 76'), Taarabt; Balotelli
Goals: de Jong (65')
Inter Milan: Handanović; Rolando, Samuel, Ranocchia; Nagatomo, Kovačić, Cambiasso (Guarín 70'), Hernanes, Jonathan (Álvarez 78'); Palacio, Icardi (Milito 82')