Melbourne City have fallen just short of a creditable draw against their more illustrious Premier League sister club, losing 1-0 to Manchester City .
A belting Samir Nasri volley in the 85th minute finally secured the breakthrough for Manchester City in the twilight clash in Robina on Saturday.
Melbourne City spurned two of the match's most clear cut chances as they defended well and countered with genuine threat, but Nasri's exquisite finish ultimately proved the difference.
Any fans on the Gold Coast hoping for a glimpse of star signing Raheem Sterling on the pitch were left disappointed, with the England winger training with his new team in Robina but not named in the team for Saturday.
Sterling would watch on from the stands, but Melbourne City winger Harry Novillo would show the Manchester side this would be no stroll in the park, threatening with a dangerous cross and stinging the hands of Willy Caballero with a turn and shoot.
Caballero nearly gifted Melbourne the lead just nine minutes in before Manchester City cranked up a gear, enjoying a succession of probing attacks, with star Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure smacking the crossbar with a sizzling free kick.
Toure, Nasri, Brandon Barker and Spanish World Cup winner Jesus Navas all showed skill and terrific passing exchanges to set up shots, only to fire off target.
But the greatest chance of the half fell to the hosts as a flowing counter-attack saw Robi Koren set up Stefan Mauk with an excellent cross, only for the forward to spoon the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
"I think will Stefan will have a few moments in his bed over the coming nights where he will think back over those moments you hope never to have," Melbourne coach John van 't Schip said.
"Stefan was there, he made a great run into the box ... in the moment, it bounced and he was unlucky with his touch and it was a great opportunity, a great cross in, and a great move."
Novillo would let Manchester City off the hook again as he collected an overhit cross from the right on the 68th minute, skinning his marker and chipping Caballero, but watched on as the ball bobbled agonisingly wide.
Manchester City made good on their promise to field a strong team throughout with Toure, Nasri, Navas and full-back Gael Clichy all featuring for at least 87 minutes.
It was left to Nasri late on to provide the spark required, sending the mostly Sky Blue-hued crowd home happy with his thumping goal from outside the box.
"Everybody made a great effort. Of course its always hard when you give a goal jut a few minutes before the game. We had five really good chances," van 't Schip said.
"We had our chances, it was good for a lot of things, for the physical part but also for the club to play against Man City with the players that they have.
"(Manchester City) wanted to win, they kept their top players on the pitch as long as possible."