City EDS concluded their week-long stay in Germany with a 2-1 loss to Czech side Slovan Liberec.
Goals either side of half time condemned the young Blues to a third pre-season defeat, and although Thierry Ambrose halved the deficit with 15 minutes to go an equaliser proved elusive.
Patrick Vieira’s men were aiming for a first win on German soil after recording narrow losses to Bayern Munich and Nurnberg as part of a week which has seen them face a hat-trick of sides that began pre-season training three weeks in advance of themselves.
With the first competitive match less than a week away, Vieira made nine changes to the side that started against Nurnberg to field a team more akin to the one that took on Bayern at the start of the week.
Kean Bryan and Mathias Bossaerts formed an unfamiliar centre back partnership, but there was a more traditional look to the front three, as Brandon Barker, Devante Cole and Jordi Hiwula reprised their attacking roles.
It was a slow start to this latest clash as both sides vied for possession, and there were over 15 minutes on the clock by the time Angelino recorded the game’s first effort on target.
The Spaniard, who likes to show off his pace and attacking prowess from left back, collected a long ball from compatriot Pablo Maffeo and his well-struck shot forced a good save from the opposition keeper.
Angelino had another chance to break the deadlock a few minutes later but on that occasion fired just off target.
Meanwhile, at the other end Liberec hit the post from a free kick but City had the best of the chances. Hiwula connected well with a Barker cross but could only find the goalkeeper’s gloves, while Olivier Ntcham skewed his shot wide from a great solo effort.
However, with half time approaching the Czechs seized their opportunity, and after recovering the ball in the final third Lukas Kaiser was on hand to tuck the ball beyond Angus Gunn.
City emerged after the break reinvigorated and determined to get themselves back on level terms, but were hit with an early blow when Dennis Frimmel doubled the opposition’s advantage from the penalty spot after just three minutes.
The introduction of Thierry Ambrose and James Horsfield midway through the second half inspired an encouraging reaction, and Ambrose had a good opportunity within minutes of coming on, although again the keeper made a good stop.
Cole also tested the Czech’s reflexes before Ambrose himself found the net after 75 minutes.
The young Blues pressed forward sensing the chance of an equaliser, but a second goal proved beyond their reach as Slovan Liberec sought to hold onto their advantage and kill the game off.
Although once again the result was disappointing, the young side are already maturing under Vieira’s tutelage and the signs of progress have been plentiful in the three games in Germany.
The Frenchman will have been encouraged by the second half display in particular, and the Blues now fly home ahead of final preparations for the Manchester Senior Cup final against United on Thursday.
CITY: Gunn, Bossaerts, Angelino, Maffeo, Bryan (c), Glendon, Fofana (Byrne 76), Ntcham (Horsfield 65), Barker (Ambrose 65), Cole, Hiwula.