Antonio Conte’s Inter are now four points clear of AC Milan and in the last six matches, they have not lost, whereas, the Rossoneri are experiencing a bumpy ride all of a sudden as their hopes for the Scudetto suffered a blow. The Milan Derby had the hype of the past and all eyes were waiting to see the battle between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku – in the end, Lukaku had the last laugh.
— Inter (@Inter_en) February 21, 2021
Stefano Pioli made seven changes to the starting XI compared to the line-up which drew against Red Star as Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, Sandro Tonali, Franck Kessie, Ante Rebic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Alexis Saelemaekers and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all came into the team.
It was a perfect start for Inter!
Lukaku escaped down the right and crossed for Lautaro Martinez to head home after just five minutes.
Kjaer went into the book inside the 11th minute for tripping Lautaro as the Argentine spearheaded a counter. Then Calabria experienced alert-moments later as Lautaro was played in behind by a nice through ball from Eriksen, though the Milan full-back intervened well at the far post to prevent the arriving Perisic from having a big chance.
— Inter (@Inter_en) February 21, 2021
Milan’s first chance on goal came in the following minute as pinball inside the Inter box resulted in Ibrahimovic using an audacious back-heel to divert the ball goalwards, but Handanovic leapt well to catch in both hands.
The two-man frontline of Lukaku and Lautaro continued to cause Milan all kinds of problems for the Rossoneri’s defence, and Donnarumma will have been relieved to see the former drag his shot wide in the 21st minute having spun around inside the box.
It took Lautaro Martinez just five minutes to give Inter the lead in the Milan derby ? pic.twitter.com/eBaw2LnaWD
— Goal (@goal) February 21, 2021
Theo Hernandez had a big chance to level the game on the half-hour mark as he brought the ball down inside the box as Kessie’s dink was not properly cleared, but the Frenchman dragged his shot wide of the left post with Handanovic stranded.
Inter remained dominant throughout the first half, especially on the break, with both strikers spurning good chances to double their side’s lead and Milan Skriniar meeting a Christian Eriksen free-kick to send a powerful header just over the bar with the last action before the interval.
The Rossoneri came out purposefully after half-time and three stunning saves at the start of the second half from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic kept his side in front.
First, he exhibited quick reflexes to get down and parry a bullet header from Ibrahimovic, then made himself big to beat away another header from this Swede, this time from point-blank range. Seconds later he leapt to tip a Sandro Tonali effort over the bar.
AC Milan 0-2 Inter
Lautaro Martinez finishes off a beautiful move for Inter ? pic.twitter.com/nytvsuFlaX
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 21, 2021
Milan continued to push and Ibrahimovic almost found the perfect knockdown into the path of Kessie after Calhanoglu’s dink, but an excellent recovery challenge prevented the Ivorian from a clear-cut chance.
But hose stops proved crucial when 10 minutes later Martínez finished a fine, flowing Inter move to score his 13th league goal of the season to give his side some breathing space.
Lukaku gets his reward for his outstanding performance! ?
Inter in control of the derby ?⚫
Inter in control of the title race? ? pic.twitter.com/qGZFL05oTO
— Premier Sports ? (@PremierSportsTV) February 21, 2021
Lukaku started the move, laying off to Achraf Hakimi, who darted inside to find Eriksen.
Eriksen then fed the onrushing Ivan Perisic, who squared the first time for the grateful striker to tap home.
When the Rossoneri were trying to regroup and Zlatan and his mates searching for the way to claw back, Lukaku made sure of a fourth successive league win for Inter with a wonderful goal in the 66th minute.
After collecting a long ball, he swivelled to run at the heart of Milan’s defence and beat Donnarumma eliciting applause from Ibrahimovic at the other end of the pitch.
Inter had been the better side and deserve the accolades.