City kicked off their 2013 Oberndorf Tournament campaign with a draw and a defeat in two tricky games against Borussia Monchengladbach and Fluminense.
Against Monchengladbach in the opening game, Patrick Vieira’s men were undone by two goals either side of half-time after Jordi Hiwula had given City a dream start with the opener after 90 seconds.
Fluminense were the opposition for the evening game and the City managed to put their earlier disappointment behind them with a battling draw against the Brazilians.
With two 50 minute games in a little over two hours in temperatures pushing 35 degrees, squad rotation was on the agenda for Vieira’s 17-strong travelling party.
Hiwula, who missed more than six months of last season with a knee injury, was named in the starting line-up in the no.9 position for the Monchengladbach game, with Marcos Lopes and Sinan Bytyqi either side.
Shay Facey started at right-back after his exploits with the first-team in South Africa this summer, while Albert Rusnak, who made his debut against Chelsea in St Louis Cardinals Stadium in May, played in behind Hiwula up front.
City got their Oberndorf Tournament bid off to the perfect start when Hiwula marked his injury comeback with a simple sidefoot finish from close range after great work by Olivier Ntcham on the left.
For the remaining 20 minutes after City took the lead, Angus Gunn was required to pull off a string of top saves to maintain parity and the crossbar was rattled as the Germans put the Blues on the ropes.
Finally this incessant pressure told and Johannes Jensen equalised in sensational style with a long-range strike which left Gunn with no chance.
City had a couple of half chances to go back in front but in truth, the German side were the more dangerous side at the start of the second period.
Monchengladbach went in front after 43 minutes courtesy of another powerful shot from outside of the penalty area – this time by Nils Rutten.
Perhaps Gunn was unsighted as the ball travelled through a couple of bodies but the England youth international still may have struggled to get there as the ball nestled right into the bottom corner.
Try as they might, City just couldn’t find a response and despite a last gasp effort from a weaving and winding Rusnak, the Germans held on for the win.
Vieira’s EDS didn’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption, with only an hour break between the Monchengladbach defeat and their second group match against Fluminense.
As expected, the Frenchman made a host of changes, bringing Thomas Agyepoke, Yeboah Yaw and Seko Fofana into the line-up for the meeting with the Brazilian outfit.
Perhaps unsurprisingly because of the potentially terminal effect of a defeat for both sides’ chances of qualification for the semis, it was a tight opening half with few chances on either goal.
City dominated possession and played some neat, attractive football but Fluminense came the closest when a free-kick cannoned back off the crossbar after 15 minutes.
That one warning aside, the Blues finished the half much the stronger and Bytyqi came close to notching the game’s first goal but he was always stretching in his attempts to get on the end of a nice lay-off from Ntcham.
A decent shout for a penalty was also waved away before the break and on first view it certainly looked as though Bytyqi was pole-axed by the Fluminense defender as he attacked a Rusnak cross.
After the break, Ian Lawlor was at full-stretch to keep out another fine free-kick from the South Americans, pulling off a breathtaking save before Rusnak drew a save from a set piece of his own with five minutes to play.
In truth, neither side could make wholly convincing cases to prove that they deserved to claim all three points, so the draw was probably about right.
City must beat Team Black Forest in their remaining Group B encounter tomorrow to be in with any chance of progressing to the afternoon’s semi-final.
We’ll bring you live goal updates on Twitter as well as a match report from that game tomorrow afternoon.
Kick-off is at 10am UK time.
EDS XI v Borussia Monchengladbach: Gunn, Facey, Denayer, Bossaerts, Leigh, Evans, Ntcham, Rusnak, Lopes, Hiwula, Bytyqi
EDS XI v Fluminense: Lawlor, Facey, Denayer, Bossaerts, Yaw, Fofana, Ntcham, Rusnak, Lopes, Agyepong, Bytyqi