Martin Demichelis made his first appearance in a City shirt for Patrick Vieira’s Elite Development Squad on Wednesday night.
The 32-year old enjoyed a winning start to life at City, helping the Sky Blues to a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Rochdale after a 2-2 draw in the opening Group 1 match.
In normal time, a brace from Jordy Hiwula bookended two goals in five minutes from the visitors, meaning that the match went straight to penalties.
This Manchester Senior Cup encounter against Rochdale offered Demichelis his first taste of football since he arrived on English shores at the end of the summer transfer window.
It’s been a frustrating six weeks for the Argentine defender who suffered a knee injury in his first week of training with the Sky Blues.
With a timeframe on the return of Vincent Kompany still not known for certain, it was perfect timing for the four-time Bundesliga champion to return to the field.
Also appearing for Vieira’s side for the first time this season were fellow first-teamers Jack Rodwell and Dedryck Boyata, who both would have been keen to impress with West Ham at Upton Park just three days away.
Elsewhere in the XI, there was another welcome return in the shape of last season’s top-scorer at this level, Jose Angel Pozo.
The Spanish youth international has missed six months with an ankle injury and, excluding 45 minutes in a friendly at Platt Lane against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, had no competitive minutes under his belt in the 2013/14 season.
Facing off against City were a team with a duo of former academy players in the shape of Javan Vidal and Andrew Tutte – just two of a clutch of seasoned Rochdale first-team players in the line-up.
City lined up with Demichelis in front of the back four – a throw back to the early days of his career and presumably a measure to get the Argentine heavily involved in the action from the get-go.
It seemed to work, as in the early stages Martin threw himself into a couple of hearty challenges and showed his class by coming out with the ball on every occasion.
Neither goalkeeper was tested until the quarter of an hour mark when a flurry of chances fell for Rodwell in quick succession but good last ditch defending from the visitors prevented the goal from being breached.
It was to prove to be a reprieve for Rochdale as the hosts took a deserved lead on the 20 minute mark.
Vieira’s men had the opportunity to double their advantage after 34 minutes when Hiwula took the ball off the toes of the goalkeeper and found an off-balance George Glendon in the middle but the midfielder’s shot was just over the crossbar from 12 yards out.
A one-goal winning margin in the home side’s favour was just about right at the break – especially given that Rochdale managed to carve out the odd half-chance on the counter.
Huws was immediately at the centre of the action and nearly set up Hiwula for his second but the Rochdale defence pickpocketed the England youth international just as he was about to pull the trigger.
City were made to pay for not taking their chances when on top as the visitors hit back with an equaliser on 57 minutes courtesy of Joseph Bunney and they were ahead five minutes later when Logan slotted past Ian Lawlor with the Sky Blue defence nowhere to be seen.
However, Vieira’s side were only behind for a matter of minutes as Hiwula headed an excellent Rusnak cross into the bottom corner to restore parity.
The teams couldn’t be separated in the remaining time and so proceeded straight to a penalty shootout which was settled by a coolly taken spot kick from Rusnak after Matthew Done crashed Oldham’s final penalty against the woodwork.
City complete their Manchester Senior Cup Group 1 engagements when they visit Oldham Athletic on Monday 28 October.