This was a gripping match that turned on a number of hotly debated events. In between there was plenty of good football to be found. At the end Inter ended the theatrics of who would be Serie champions as Juventus did their part against Cagliari to earn the Old Lady their 28th Scudetto.
Under Andrea Stramaccioni, this Inter team comprising a core of hard nosed veterans and an outer layer of youth, has shown a positive response. The first half saw AC Milan coming off a distinct second best. Ricky Alvarez and Fredy Guarin were lively, Diego Milito was probing, and Wesley Sneijder showed glimpses of his former exalted form. The much berated defensive unit demonstrated resilience leaving Ibrahimovic with little to do up front.
Milito predictably shot them ahead with an opportunistic flourish as Walter Samuel's ricochet fell to him in front of goal as the AC Milan defense fell asleep. Thereafter it was Inter all over Milan who held on grimly.
There was plenty of dramatics in the first half as Lucio had a goal disqualified for being inches offside. Even more controversially, Esteban Cambiasso's header appeared to have crossed the goal line before Abbiati got his hands to it. Another ghost goal in a season seemingly full of them.
Parity was restored in controversial fashion as Kevin Prince Boateng flying ahead to gather a heavy touch was apparently felled by Julio Cesar in the box. Replays clearly showed he got all the ball. The clearly aggrieved goalie then tried getting into the head of Ibrahimovic with some in your face time. The Swede showed a zen like calm to take the penalty giving vent to his inner goon after the conversion.
Seconds into the second half in a basketball like diagrammed play, Ibra latched onto an angled cross by Robinho, showing a nice first touch to create space and then chipped the ball past Cesar. Inter went into overdrive looking for a response. Milito again came up with the answer as he was pushed by Abate from behind and the striker milked the moment and the spot kick. Minutes later Alessandro Nesta was adjudged deliberately using his hand to obstruct Giampaolo Pazzini's header for the evening's third penalty. Milito duly completed his hat trick. The match's remaining highlight was supplied by Maicon whose thundering flyer took Amelia by surprise.
Inter look like a team that has restored its purpose under Stramaccioni and they have some of the building blocks to keep themselves in the top echelon. Much work needs to be done to rejuvenate an aging defense. AC Milan's emphasis on the industrial and workman like worked against them when what they needed was a creative spark to lift their side this evening. The addition of Mark Van Bommel and Kevin Prince Boateng reflect the direction taken by this club.