MILAN - Julio Cruz came off the bench and hit an injury-time winner as the Nerazzurri beat Udinese 1-0 at the Giuseppe Meazza.
The result puts Inter back on top of the Serie A table ahead of tonight's late game between AC Milan and Lecce.
After playing 4-4-2 in Reggio Calabria and Nicosia, José Mourinho reverted to 4-3-3 for the Week 11 clash, with Walter Samuel partnering Ivan Cordoba in the centre of defence after a long lay-off through injury.
Captain Zanetti was back in midfield after playing at left-back in Cyprus, playing alongside Cambiasso and Vieira.
It was the French midfielder who had the first clear chance of the game when he rifled wide from Ibrahimovic's pass in the 11th minute.
Udinese matched Inter blow for blow and Pepe forced Julio Cesar into an early save with a dipping header.
The Inter keeper was kept busy and expertly blocked a fierce long-range effort from Inler.
The Bianconeri went close again just after the break when Julio Cesar made a one-handed save from Floro Flores.
Inter stepped up a gear and had a double chance when Handanovic parried Ibrahimovic's angled drive before denying Balotelli a chance from the loose ball.
Handanovic then made a punched clearance from Cambiasso's curling free kick, keeping out Ibrahimovic's headed follow-up.
Pasquale Marino's side soaked up the pressure and hit back, D'Agostino forcing Julio Cesar into a diving save with a blistering long-range shot.
Quagliarella then had a shot on the turn deflected wide for a corner but the Nerazzurri surged forward and Javier Zanetti unleashed a low long-range shot that bounced back off the post.
Just when it looked like Inter were heading for their second consecutive goalless draw at home, substitute Cruz popped up in the area to nod home Maicon's headed assist from Obinna's left-wing corner.
Inter 1-0 Udinese (HT: 0-0)
Scorer: Cruz 90+2.
Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 2 Cordoba, 25 Samuel, 6 Maxwell; 14 Vieira (5 Stankovic 72), 19 Cambiasso, 4 Zanetti; 77 Quaresma (9 Cruz 46), 8 Ibrahimovic, 45 Balotelli (21 Obinna 63).
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 18 Crespo, 23 Materazzi, 33 Mancini.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Udinese: 22 Handanovic; 32 Ferronetti, 13 Coda, 6 Domizzi, 24 Lukovic; 88 Inler, 21 D'Agostino, 15 Isla; 7 Pepe (23 Motta 90), 27 Quagliarella, 83 Floro Flores (11 Sanchez 73).
Subs not used: 80 Belardi, 5 Obodo, 25 Nef, 26 Pasquale, 99 Sala.
Coach: Pasquale Marino.
Referee: Emidio Morganti (Ascoli Piceno).
Booked: Pepe 33, D'Agostino 39, Inler 55, Cruz 74, Cordoba 83.