But AC Milan regrouped, and a goal from Alessio Romagnoli gave them a lifeline.
Milan remained sixth in Serie A, two points above Inter in the race for the final qualifying position for the Europa League.
This was a momentous Derby, as this week Yonghong Li completed the takeover of Milan, ending the 31-year reign of Silvio Berlusconi.
Milan's fans show a banner welcoming the team's new Chinese owners during an Italian Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and AC Milan, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, April15, 2017. "A win would have been better today but a draw which arrived in this way and for how the team played is a good start".
And in a huge global media boost for Milan's clubs, a city derby with ramifications for their Europa League hopes comes two days after Milan's long-time owner Silvio Berlusconi sold the seven-time European champions.
"Our first half hour was good, we created chances, but we weren't clinical enough".
Apple May Team With Foxconn To Bid On Toshiba's Chip Business
An Apple bid would add another layer of complexity, given its large cash position and influence as the maker of iPhones. It is unclear whether it participated in the first round of the auction that sources have said drew around 10 offers.
We can all remember the great Inter Milan and AC Milan of the recent past, but this no longer applies to the current sides, who look like ending the season with another deflating finish.
Inter took the lead in the first half through Antonio Candreva, and when Mauro Icardi put them 2-0 up just before half time it looked like the (designated) home side would get a valuable win and leapfrog their rivals in the table. From the resulting set-piece, Deulofeu left defensive midfielder Gagliardini standing still before dropping his shoulder and hitting a post from a tight angle, with Handanovic beaten.
Inter and AC Milan have conceded the joint-fewest headed goals so far in Serie A this season (three apiece).
Inter's goals in the first half came about due to some careless defending as Inter were allowed to advance the ball under very little pressure. Ivan Perisic joined nicely with Joao Mario down the left and drilled a low cross to the path of Icardi, who fired to the gaping goal from six yards.
It hit the underside of the crossbar and was hooked away by Gary Medel but the referee, aided by goalline technology, signalled that the ball had crossed the line, prompting wild celebrations among the Milan players.