Milan dominated the first half and took the lead through El Shaarawy in the 21st minute, but Ezequiel Schelotto equalized in the 71st for Inter.
Milan: Four days after beating Barcelona, AC Milan's mood was tempered following a 1-1 draw with Inter in a derby that was a tale of two sharply different halves. Milan dominated the first half and took the lead through Stephen El Shaarawy in the 21st minute, but Inter responded after the break and substitute Ezequiel Schelotto equalized in the 71st.
The draw left Milan third, six points behind second-place Napoli, who visit Udinese on Monday, and 13 points behind Serie A leader Juventus, who beat Siena 3-0 earlier. Inter are one point behind Milan and level with Lazio, who host struggling Pescara on Monday.
In front of a colorful crowd at the San Siro, the 20-year-old El Shaarawy put the Rossoneri ahead by deftly controlling a pass from Kevin-Prince Boateng before using the outside of his foot to launch a precise shot in under the crossbar for the forward's 16th goal of the season.
Six minutes later, Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic prevented Milan from taking a two-goal lead with an acrobatic save to stop a powerful header from Mario Balotelli. Balotelli, playing against his former club for the first time since transferring from Manchester City last month, also had two other chances in the first half.
Inter fans waved inflated bananas at Balotelli and whistled at him. The forward of Ghanian descent responded by holding a finger to his mouth midway through the second half, signaling for the fans to shut up.
Schelotto equalized by heading in a cross from Yuto Nagatomo after being left unmarked in the center of the area. A midfielder, the Argentine-born Schelotto joined Inter from Atalanta last month, having debuted for Italy's national team last year.