Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku, who played together at Manchester United, bolted heads and traded words toward the finish of the primary half, before the pair must be controlled as the players left the pitch for the stretch.
The official forewarned both prior to giving Ibrahimovic another yellow card and a red in the second half for a foul on Aleksandar Kolarov – the first run through the Swede has been shipped off in Europe since being excused while playing for Paris Saint-Germain at Chelsea in March 2015.
“He [Ibrahimovic] apologized like the incredible hero he is,” Pioli said. “He got a piece made up for lost time in the craving to help the group.
“It was difficult to remain in the game a man down. The pressing factor from Inter was solid.”
Entomb fought against eminent loss to dominate the game, with a punishment from Lukaku and a 97th-minute victor from Christian Eriksen sending Antonio Conte’s side through to the elimination rounds.
“We paid for the exertion in the last half hour and we were unable to get back a positive outcome,” Pioli added. “It shouldn’t have occurred, yet that is the way it went.
“We are exceptionally sorry in light of the fact that we had arranged for the game well.”