Inter Milan took their city rivals by surprise with two goals inside the first 11 minutes of the match. Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both found the back of the net to give Inter a comfortable lead.
Despite their woeful start, AC Milan improved after the break and will be grateful to still be in with a shout of defeating the 2010 champions in the second leg. On a night of thrilling sensory overload, it is Internazionale left with the feeling that matters most: victory, and in the match that matters most.
That it was 2-0 at the San Siro, from the most thrilling of starts, went some way to finishing this Champions League semi-final when it had barely begun, putting Simone Inzaghi’s fine cup team on the brink of the grandest final in club football.
It still could have been much worse for AC Milan, who badly missed their best player in Rafael Leao. It meant they had no answer – either at the back or front – to Inter’s individual stars. One of a few remaining hopes for Milan is that Leao’s return can spark a comeback that had some embers in that second half.
There was also the almost irrational manner that Inter started the game, as much borne of the emotion of everything that was happening as any imposed idea. The same can happen in the second leg, especially since Milan were the “home” side here. Stefano Pioli at least has to ensure they believe that.
That’s what much of this came down to, as the entire occasion ratcheted up to something that went beyond a sporting spectacle.