A cheeky backheel from Argentinian striker Rodrigo Palacio four minutes from time secured a 1-0 win for Inter Milan against AC Milan in the Derby della Madonnina at the San Siro in Italy's Serie A on Sunday.
Inter, claiming their eighth win of the season, had dropped to sixth after Verona's 4-1 win earlier but reclaimed fifth spot to sit five points off Napoli in the third UEFA Champions League qualifying spot and 15 behind leaders Juventus.
Sitting in 13th place and 17 points behind third place, Milan had plenty of incentive and enjoyed the lion's share of chances and possession throughout.
It took Inter until the final 20 minutes to pile on some pressure and when Palacio sent a backheel beyond the reach of Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati in the 86th minute the Rossoneri were soon lamenting their earlier misses.
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said: "I can't blame the lads' effort. They gave it everything. Inter had a solid game and they made the difference in the last 20 minutes."
In what was the 159th derby between the sides - being watched by new Inter owner, Indonesian Erick Thohir - Inter now boast 60 wins for 50 draws. It was one of the best goals I've seen all season," said Thohir, who completed his takeover of the club last month.
Inter coach Walter Mazzarri had been looking for Inter to end a mediocre run of results and admitted: "There were periods in which Milan had a lot of possession and space, but I liked the way we came back into the game.
"The lads showed a lot of character. It was the derby, and it could have gone either way but I think we deserved the win tonight. It would have been a pity not to take the three points tonight."
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was among the crowd and is likely to have been buoyed by Kaka's performance as the forward continues his quest to secure a FIFA World Cup™ place.
Despite Milan's dominance, Allegri's men lacked the slice of luck that could have made all the difference. Kaka set up Mario Balotelli in the opening minutes but the striker's effort was blocked and the former Inter star then sent a half-volley over while under pressure on the edge of the area.
Barely a minute later, Balotelli was beaten to the rebound from Kaka's strike by Esteban Cambiasso after it had been blocked by 'keeper Samir Handanovic.
Inter were struggling to find any rhythm, their only half-chances a long distance drive from Fredy Guarin which dipped over, while Yuto Nagatomo's header from Saphir Taider's weighted free kick was wide of the upright.
Milan's dominance had silenced the largely Inter crowd but they were in uproar on 40 minutes when claims for a penalty went unheard after Palacio tumbled under pressure from Cristian Zapata.
Inter finished the half showing more promise, Cambiasso's header from a well-struck Taider free kick going wide of Abbiati's far post. On 53 minutes Balotelli's angled strike was palmed away, with Andrea Poli failing to connect with the rebound.
Two minutes later Balotelli came close again, sneaking behind the Inter defence to send a first-timer just wide of Handanovic's far post with the outside of his boot.
With 15 minutes remaining Allegri went for broke, replacing midfielder Riccardo Saponara with striker Alessando Matri. However Inter upped the tempo and came close when Nagatomo's weighted pass across goal was just too far for Palacio, with Kuzmanovic missing the target on the follow-up.
A draw looked to be on the cards when Abbiati pulled off a superb save down low after Palacio had turned and shot from six metros. However the veteran 'keeper could do little when Palacio connected with Guarin's pass in a crowded area to beat Abbiati.
Milan finished the game with ten men when Sulley Muntari saw red for a reckless foul on Kuzmanovic.
Juventus, Roma win big
Title chasers Juventus and Roma piled on the goals on the final Serie A matchday before the festive break on Sunday to leave misfiring Napoli frustrated with a 1-1 draw against Cagliari.
Early season pacesetters Roma had no trouble disposing of basement side Catania, with Mehdi Benatia hitting a brace and Mattia Destro and Gervinho adding one apiece in a 4-0 win at the Olympic Stadium.
Juventus's 15th win in 17 games means Antonio Conte's men will enjoy a five-point lead over Roma during the Christmas break.
Roma sit second with a five-point lead on Napoli, who saw Fiorentina edge to within three points of third place after Giuseppe Rossi hit an 80th-minute winner for La Viola away to struggling Sassuolo.
Juventus and Roma were not the only sides in goalscoring mood, however, with Verona claiming a 4-1 win at home to Lazio and Torino beating Chievo by the same scoreline at the Olympic Stadium.
Ciro Immobile also struck twice, with further goals from Giuseppe Vives and Alessio Cerci, as Torino outclassed Chievo 4-1 to reinforce their grip on seventh place.
Elsewhere, Bologna claimed a precious 1-0 home win over Genoa, their third win of the season, to move out of the relegation zone.
Parma were one of the biggest winners on the day, Roberto Donadoni's men securing a 1-1 draw away to Sampdoria which, thanks to results elsewhere, moved them from 13th to eighth.
Juve bounce back in style
Two weeks after exiting the UEFA Champions League group stages at the hands of Galatasaray and ahead of beginning their UEFA Europa League campaign, Juventus turned their attention firmly back on winning a third consecutive scudetto.
Atalanta had conceded defeat only once at home this season, but when a bobbling, low strike from Tevez beat goalkeeper Andrea Consigli in the sixth minute the Bergamo-based side looked to be in for a long afternoon.
The hosts were back on level terms less than ten minutes later when Maxi Moralez sent a superb curling strike past the outstretched Gianluigi Buffon to end the goalkeeper's eight-match, 745-minute unbeaten streak.
Juve, however, moved up a gear after the interval and after just a minute Pogba beat Consigli from close range after Kwadwo Asamoah's cross from the left was chested down into the Frenchman's path by Llorente.
Llorenta made it three on 75 minutes when he collected Giorgio Chiellini's pass inside the area and turned his marker before beating Consigli at his far post.
Four minutes later Vidal virtually sealed Juve's ninth win on the trot when he was given space at the back post to first-time Stephan Lichsteiner's weighted pass beyond the keeper.