City morphed into the Midnight Blues as they unveiled the stylish new away kit in a New York steam bath otherwise known as the Red Bull Arena.
But the night turned sour on the pitch as Roberto Mancini’s mix and match side slipped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of super-fit Sporting Lisbon.
Two first half goals by Portuguese livewire Yannick Djalo sealed City’s fate in their first of two games in the Barclays New York Challenge.
The hosts Red Bulls await on Sunday but neither side can now win the tournament.
New York’s football arena is hugely impressive – a mini CoMs in shape - but even the Americans have not yet mastered the art of controlling weather systems and while it rained all morning in the Big Apple by the 8.36pm kick off time temperatures had soared and along with them the humidity rating.
Perhaps the climate, coupled with the fact that there is another game in fewer than 48 hours, coloured Roberto Mancini’s selection as five young whipper-snappers and the ultra fit Nedum Onuoha and Wayne Bridge adorned the bench.
Big names Manu Adebayor, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Gareth Barry, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, and Shay Given did not even, as they say in these parts, ‘get suited up’ while there were starts for Irish international Greg Cunningham and Brazil’s Jo. Micah Richards was named skipper.
It was City who did most of the early pressing and created the best two chances. First Bellamy’s shot from a tight angle was parried by Ferreira in the Sporting goal and then the same player slid the ball wide from half a dozen yards after Stephen Ireland and Jo had combined well.
However, it was the Portuguese side, less than a week away from their opening game of their Europa League season who took the lead in the 23rd minute when Djalo slipped between Kompany and Richards to send in a header that Joe Hart could only help into the net.
Buoyed by the goal Sporting looked the better side and it was livewire Djalo who doubled the lead in the 39th minute and gave the Blues a skyscraper to climb.
He collected Saleiro’s sumptuous flick that had bamboozled Cunningham and raced around Hart before slotting into an empty net.
City might have reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute had Jo not been hauled down on the edge of the box by Daniel Carrico who on another night, on a different occasion, could easily have had been red carded. The free kick came to nought.
City made six substitutions in the second period but seldom looked like scoring in a 45 minutes during which neither goalkeeper was overworked. In the end it was merely a decent blow out for many players and it would be preposterous to read too much into formation or form.
CITY: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott (Onuoha 46mins), Cunningham (Bridge 45); Ireland (Boyata 64), Vieira (Tchuimeni-Nimely 64), Zabaleta, A.Johnson, Jo (Tutte 74), Bellamy (Guidetti 74). Subs not used: Taylor.
LISBON: Ferreira, Carrico, Polga, Fabiano, Mendes (Santos 87), Ribeiro, Saleiro, Djalo, Postiga (Veloso 79), Pereira, Vukcevic (Valdes 74). Subs: Patricio, Sinama-Pongolle, Liedson, Coelho.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott (USA)
Goals: Sporting - Djalo (23mins and 39mins)
Bookings: Sporting - Carrico (43 mins)