With the Blues racing into a 5-0 lead after 35 minutes courtesy of goals from David Silva, Micah Richards, Aleks Kolarov and a brace from Edin Dzeko, Milan then scored three in five minutes to complete a breathless first period.
With the temperatures soaring inside the impressive Allianz Arena and more than 52,000 fans in attendance, the scene was set for the Blues’ sternest pre-season test yet. Or so we imagined.
Manuel Pellegrini gave Stevan Jovetic his first start in a City shirt while experimenting with Javi Garcia in the back four after suggesting he had more than enough options to cover for the injured Matija Nastasic at his Tuesday Press conference.
Milan, a mixture of experience and youngsters, had Nigel de Jong, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sully Muntari among their starting line-up - but they were soon left chasing shadows as the Blues set off at a blistering pace.
It took just three minutes for City to open the scoring with a goal that was made to look very simple. Jesus Navas burst down the right before whipping in a cross that was volleyed by Jovetic into the path of Silva who finished calmly from close range.
The Bayern Munich fans quickly showed their appreciation for the football City were playing as Jovetic, Navas and Dzeko sliced the Italians open again moments later. Then Dzeko went close before the hugely impressive Jovetic screwed a low drive wide.
Pre-season or not, Milan will rarely have been so outplayed in the opening stages of a game and it was about to get worse – much worse – as the Blues added two more in the space of three minutes.
Navas cut in from the right and played a short pass to Fernandinho and the Brazilian’s first-time pass into Richards’ run into the box was worthy of any player that has graced the yellow and green of his nation in the past or present. Micah took the ball in his stride before firing a shot at Marco Amelia who did well to block it, but the City defender’s desire ensured that he was first to the rebound and he forced the ball home from two yards.
Then Kolarov proved whatever a right-back can do, left-backs do it better as Jovetic darted forward before playing in the Serbian who finished clinically with a low drive across Amelia.
Just 22 minutes played and City were 3-0 up - it was relentless, breath-taking football that Milan, perhaps a fortnight behind in their pre-season preparations, simply couldn’t deal with and ten minutes later they were further behind.
Navas claimed his second assist of the afternoon when he again received the ball out wide before spotting Dzeko in the box – it was going to take a ball of precision to find the Bosnian at the back post and the low curling ball he received was exactly that, leaving him with the simplest of finishes.
Four quickly became five in the 35th minute and it was another sumptuous effort as the Blues pinged the ball around the final third effortlessly until Yaya Toure spotted Dzeko’s intelligent run, lofted a pass over the back four and the Bosnian chested the pass and then volleyed home superbly from eight yards.
So City, 5-0 up and coasting – game over. Surely? What price then three Milan goals in the ten minutes that remained? You’d guess the odds would make you a rich man if you put a tenner on at the bookies, but that’s exactly what happened in a bizarre five-minute period that began with two Stephan El Shaarawy goals on 37 and 39 minutes and another from Andrea Petagne on 42 – all from defensive lapses by the Blues.
It was a crazy, bizarre end to an enthralling first 45 minutes and that’s not forgetting Milan had two more good chances to go in level at the break!
Eight goals, countless misses – mostly from City – and some stunning football. If ever there was potential for ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ – this match was it – and it so proved.
The excitement continued, albeit not quite at the high octane levels of the opening period and at a gentler pace.
Samir Nasri could have made it six after taking the ball away from Amelia on 54 minutes but the angle was too tight and the opportunity went begging. Milan continued to threaten and both Joleon Lescott and then Joe Hart (twice) prevented further damage.
Alvaro Negredo skimmed the bar in the closing stages but there were no more goals, as perhaps, we should have expected.
A game of two halves this most certainly was.