Milan earned local bragging rights and more significantly, went top of Serie A, when they beat rivals Inter 1-0 thanks to an early goal by winger Serginho.

The Brazilian collected a pass from compatriot Rivaldo before taking the ball round Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo to score the only goal of the game on 13 minutes.

The win takes Milan ahead – albeit on goal difference – of Juventus, who were held 1-1 at home by Bologna. Inter are in third place.

Christian Vieri had a marvellous opportunity tolevel the scores 15 minutes from time, but the normally reliable Inter striker blazed over from close range.

Meanwhile Juventus, were grateful to a Mark Iulian equaliser four minutes from time in their match at home to Bologna.

Juve coach Marcello Lippi, with one eye on the forthcoming Champions League clash with Deportivo La Coruna, left in-form strikers Alessandro Del Piero and Marco Di Vaio and Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids on the bench.

The gamble almost backfired as the visitors enjoyed the bulk of possession and sqaundered several opportunities to take the lead. However, Bologna got their just reward midway through the second-half when Buffon brought down Cruz inside the area and the evergreen striker Signori fired in the spot-kick.

Then,with time running out, Argentine Mauro Camoranesi, on as a substitite, delivered the corner from which Iuliano headed home the equaliser.