After tributes were made to victims of the Manchester Attack before kick-off during a spectacular light show, the 67,401 crowd were treated to an historic and keenly contested clash under the roof at the NRG Stadium.
The game was decided by two goals in two minutes for United towards the end of the first half, as Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford struck for the Reds.
But aside from that key spell City, whose shirts were emblazoned with the Manchester bee emblem, looked sharp considering this was the team’s first run of the 2017/18 season.
Pep Guardiola’s men enjoyed more possession overall, with new signing Kyle Walker and Stockport-born 17-year-old Phil Foden producing eye-catching displays.
Foden, a boyhood Blue, played with guile and grace beyond his years in central midfield, finding space and linking play throughout. His idol and the man who he models his game on - David Silva - would have been proud of such a performance.
City started the game positively, with skipper Vincent Kompany looking strong in defence, while Raheem Sterling and Patrick Roberts had the United defence scrambling early on.
Another City debutant, goalkeeper Ederson, had his palms stung twice by shots from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ander Herrera before United snatched the lead.
The Brazilian keeper just failed to reach the ball ahead of Romelu Lukaku with the Belgian keeper finishing well from a tight angle.
Moments later Marcus Rashford broke down the right and lashed in a far post finish to make it two goals in two minutes.
A glut of changes at the break disrupted the flow of the game somewhat, although the sides traded chances through Lukaku’s shot that thudded against the post and Gabriel Jesus’ close range sortie on goal.
Ederson made a superb double save to deny Phil Jones, and try as they might City could not find a way through.
Houston, we had a derby, and in Foden perhaps a star was born.
Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson and Kyle Walker made their City debuts, while Stockport-born youngster Phil Foden made his first senior start. City set up in a four-five-one formation, with full-backs Walker and Fernandinho pushed high up the field. Yaya Toure was the holding midfield man, behind De Bruyne and Foden, with Sterling starting wide left and Roberts wide right.
There were a raft of changes at the break, with Eliaquim Mangala, John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, Samir Nasri, Brahim Diaz and Leroy Sane all coming on and Yaya Toure, Kompany, Adarabioyo, De Bruyne, Roberts and Sterling making way.
City jet out to Los Angeles on Friday ahead of next Wednesday’s match against Real Madrid at the Coliseum, before next Saturday’s final ICC Cup match against Tottenham at Nissan’s Nashville Stadium.
You can watch highlights from this game at www.internationalchampionscup.com from 9am BST on Friday