Internazionale FC hold a narrow advantage over city rivals AC Milan after a goalless draw in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg at the San Siro.
Héctor Cúper's side withstood some strong pressure from the home side, and will be marginally the more satisfied ahead of next Tuesday's second leg, although the lack of an away goal could yet cost them.
Confounding expectations, both sides began in attacking fashion, with Milan pressing Inter back in the opening two minutes, before Inter had two chances within a minute. Alvaro Recoba's pass rebounded to Sérgio Conceição on the right corner of the Milan penalty area, but his left-foot shot was straight at Dida, who gathered easily. Seconds later, the Portuguese winger broke forward, and his low ball into the Milan area was centimetres in front of the sliding Hernán Crespo.
In the seventh minute, Inter came even closer to taking the lead, as Crespo's flick put Recoba clear on goal, but the Uruguayan international's shot lacked power, and again Dida was able to make a comfortable save.
On the quarter-hour, Milan had their first real chance, as Rui Costa's perceptive through-ball found Kakha Kaladze down the left, who in turn played the ball to Andriy Shevchenko. The Ukrainian international's curling shot was at a comfortable height for Francesco Toldo, who palmed away.
Two minutes later, Inter again created a presentable chance, as Sérgio Conceição's cross found Recoba unmarked in the Milan penalty area, but the ball dropped slightly behind the striker, who could only direct his header straight at Dida. That proved to be Inter's last significant threat of the first half, as Milan steadily pressed their opponents back and enjoyed much more possession, but were unable to create any real goalscoring opportunities.
It was a different story immediately after half-time, with Rui Costa twice shooting narrowly wide in the opening two minutes of the second half. Shevchenko then failed to connect properly with a low cross after Kaladze had burst powerfully into the Inter area, and Toldo was able to save.
Inzaghi volleyed straight at the Inter goalkeeper before, in the 58th minute, Shevchenko wasted Milan's best chance of the match. Rui Costa, an influential figure throughout, split the Inter defence with another through-ball but, with a clear run at goal, the striker opted to square the ball to Inzaghi, and Iván Cordoba was able to clear.
Gattuso then forced a diving Toldo to turn the ball behind, before Clarence Seedorf had two chances in a minute, first shooting just over from the edge of the area and then flicking Shevchenko's cross wide of the far post from near the penalty spot.
In the final minute, Inter nearly snatched a priceless away goal, as Crespo forced Maldini into an uncertain defensive header. The Inter striker lifted the ball over Dida but then watched it drop agonisingly wide, to leave the match finely poised at the halfway stage.