MILAN - Milestones were in fashion at the Meazza as José Mourinho completed his century of league matches at home without defeat, Javier Zanetti wore black and blue for the 600th time, and Julio Cesar made his 100th appearance in Italy's Serie A.
But more importantly, Inter warmed up for Sunday's Milan derby with a 1-0 victory over gritty Lecce, courtesy of a goal from substitute Julio Cruz eleven minutes from time.
The win puts the Nerazzurri in solitary command at the top of the table after four rounds of matches as Juve were held at home to Catania.
Mourinho made two changes to the side that beat Torino at the weekend, handing starts to Stankovic and Cordoba and leaving Materazzi and Maicon on the bench.
A sluggish game came alive in the 26th minute when Ibrahimovic sent his 35-metre free kick soaring over the Giallorossi wall and on to the bar.
Lecce responded just past the half hour when their captain Zanchetta forced a good save from Julio Cesar.
Mourinho made two changes at the break, introducing Maicon and Quaresma for Vieira and Stankovic, later bringing on Julio Cruz for Chivu.
Playing with three centre-forwards and two wingers, the Nerazzurri poured forward and got their reward when El Jardinero met Ibra's pull-back and slotted past Benussi from the edge of the box.
Ibrahimovic could have made the result extra safe minutes later, his intuitive long-range effort only just kept out by the Lecce keeper.
Inter 1-0 Lecce (HT: 0-0)
Scorer: Cruz 79.
Inter (4-3-3): 12 Julio Cesar; 4 Zanetti, 2 Cordoba, 16 Burdisso, 26 Chivu (9 Cruz 71); 14 Vieira (13 Maicon 46), 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic (77 Quaresma 46); 33 Mancini, 8 Ibrahimovic, 10 Adriano.
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 18 Crespo, 23 Materazzi, 45 Balotelli.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Lecce (4-4-2): 99 Benussi; 6 Angelo (5 Diamoutene 51), 2 Stendardo, 14 Fabiano, 16 Esposito; 8 Munari, 7 Zanchetta, 21 Ardito, 19 Ariatti; 9 Cacia (10 Caserta 75); 90 Tiribocchi (11 Castillo 54).
Subs not used: 1 Rosati, 18 Giacomazzi, 23 Schiavi, 25 Konan.
Coach: Mario Beretta.
Referee: Mauro Bergonzi (Genoa).
Booked: Chivu 43, Quaresma 58, Esposito 61.