MILAN - Kakha Kaladze's second-half goal proved the difference as AC Milan beat Inter 1-0 in Serie A Week 34. The result sees the Nerazzurri slip to five points behind their cross-city rivals with four league matches remaining.
For the 264th Milan derby Roberto Mancini opted for a five-man midfield of Figo, Cambiasso, Pizarro, C.Zanetti and Stankovic deployed behind lone striker Adriano, with a defensive line of J.Zanetti, Cordoba, Mihajlovic and Burdisso in front of Julio Cesar, who was back between the posts after an injury to Toldo.
The Inter boss was forced to make an early change, with Materazzi on for Mihajlovic after the Serb suffered a muscle injury in the opening minutes.
The clearest chance of the opening forty-five fell to Dejan Stankovic on 18 minutes, with Dida failing to hold the Serb's fierce diagonal shot.
Milan went close 11 minutes after the restart when Julio Cesar parried a low shot by Seedorf with his legs, with the Nerazzurri going even closer minutes later when Figo headed narrowly wide from a Stankovic cross.
Julio Cesar was called into action again on 66 minutes with a crucial save from Kakà's poked shot after Cordoba's goalline clearance from a Shevchenko header.
But there was nothing Inter's Brazilian keeper could do to stop Milan taking the lead on 70 minutes when the unmarked Kaladze controlled a high ball from Seedorf before crashing home.
Esteban Cambiasso headed wide of an open goal in the final stages as the Rossoneri held on for their 56th derby victory since the Serie A championship became a one-division affair in 1929/30.
AC MILAN 1-0 INTER (HT: 0-0)
Scorer: Kaladze 70
AC MILAN: 1 Dida; 2 Cafu (5 Costacurta 73), 13 Nesta, 4 Kaladze, 3 Maldini; 8 Gattuso, 21 Pirlo (14 Vogel 79), 20 Seedorf; 7 Shevchenko (10 Rui Costa 82), 22 Kakà, 11 Gilardino
Subs not used: 16 Kalac, 17 Simic, 18 Jankulovski, 37 Amoroso
Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
INTER: 12 Julio Cesar; 4 J.Zanetti, 2 Cordoba, 11 Mihajlovic (23 Materazzi 10), 3 Burdisso; 7 Figo, 19 Cambiasso, 8 Pizarro (21 Solari 83), 6 C.Zanetti (30 Martins 76), 5 Stankovic; 10 Adriano
Subs not used: 22 Orlandoni, 16 Favalli, 18 Kily Gonzalez, 25 Samuel
Coach: Roberto Mancini
Referee: Massimo De Santis (Tivoli)
Booked: Cafu 27, Materazzi 52, C.Zanetti 61, Pirlo 64, Gilardino 76, Burdisso 88, Seedorf 90, Cordoba 90+4