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The Nerazzurri threw down a gauntlet to rival AC Milan as they deposed it at the top of the table thanks to goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez ahead of Milan's clash with Genoa.
But victory at Stadio Alberto Picco at least means the Nerazzurri remain neck-and-neck, with a game in hand on the Rossoneri beyond this latest round ensuring destiny stays in their own hands.
In a game where opportunities were initially at a premium, it took almost 15 minutes for either side to register an attempt, with Denzel Dumfries heading wide.
But when Danilo D'Ambrosio headed down a looping cross near the edge of the box in the 31st minute, there was little stopping Brozovic's rasping drive into the top-left corner.
The visitors were not as clinically composed as they would have liked, however.
Nicolo Barella slid reaching for the ball past the hour to fumble a great chance for a second, while Dumfries blazed a subsequent low cross way over the crossbar.
But when Martinez flicked Ivan Perisic's cross beyond Ivan Provedel with just more than a quarter of an hour to play, Inter looked to be home and dry.
Giulio Maggiore fired home a response late on to set up a nervy final act, but the visitors restored the two-goal cushion in stoppage-time, with Sanchez drilling a squared Martinez pass home.