CAGLIARI - Diego Milito celebrated his 100th match for Italian clubs with two goals in five second half minutes as Inter stunned Cagliari at the Stadio Sant'Elia.
On the back foot after Jeda's penalty in the 15th minute, the Nerazzurri were survived a series of scares before Il Principe popped up with two typical finishes.
Inter were made to suffer and sweat as the hosts battled hard for a point right until the final whistle.
Mourinho rested Samuel, Chivu and Thiago Motta for the Serie A Week 4 clash, recalling Cordoba and Santon in defence and handing Cambiasso his first start since sustaining a knee injury in mid-August.
Inter got the game under way after a minute's applause in memory of the six Italian soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan last week.
Dejan Stankovic was presented with the first real chance on 6 minutes, getting into a shooting position before sending his swerveshot just over.
Cagliari did better with theirs in the 16th, Jeda sending Julio Cesar the wrong way from the penalty spot after a foul in the box by Maicon on Matri.
The Rossoblu came close to adding a quick second when Matri fired his diagonal shot into the side-netting.
Inter were struggling to establish a rhythm and Agostini tested Julio Cesar with a drilled low effort before the Nerazzurri came out of their shell towards the end of the half.
Sneijder, Stankovic and Milito all tested Marchetti with shots of varying power, while Eto'o sent a curling free kick inches off target as Inter looked to have stepped up a gear at the break.
Cagliari, though, came out for the second half intent on increasing their lead and Inter survived a double scare when Dessena's low strike bounced back off the post before Canini headed wide Cossu's cross when it would have been easier to score.
But Inter, playing with Balotelli and Thiago Motta in place of Santon and Cambiasso, silenced the home fans with two quick replies.
Milito equalised in the 51st minute, sliding beyond the onrushing Marchetti after a defensive error by Conti. Il Principe put Inter in front with his second five minutes later, controlling Thiago Motta's superb lofted pass and lifting over the Cagliari keeper from a tight angle.
José Mourinho was shown a red card for protesting after an ugly foul on Mario Balotelli, while his counterpart Massimiliano Allegri tried everything he could to extend his unbeaten run against Inter and the Portuguese.
Thiago Motta, Milito and Eto'o had chances to stretch our lead before a final period in which Nenè, Cossu and Jeda were left rueing missed opportunities for the Rossoblu.
Cagliari 1-2 Inter (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Jeda (pen) 15, Milito 51, 55.
Cagliari: 32 Marchetti; 15 Marzoratti, 13 Astori, 21 Canini, 31 Agostini; 8 Biondini (10 Lazzari 67), 5 Conti, 4 Dessena; 7 Cossu (23 Larrivey 90+2), 27 Jeda; 32 Matri (9 Nenè 76).
Subs not used: 24 Lupatelli, 16 Sivakov, 18 Parola, 20 Barone.
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri.
Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 2 Cordoba, 6 Lucio, 39 Santon (45 Balotelli 46); 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso (8 Thiago Motta 46; 26 Chivu 65), 5 Stankovic; 10 Sneijder; 22 Milito, 9 Eto'o.
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 7 Quaresma, 14 Vieira, 25 Samuel.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Schio).
Booked: Cambiasso 9, Maicon 15, Astori 35, Conti 40, Eto'o 53.
Sent off: Mourinho 57.