MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 3 MANCHESTER CITY 5
Having shared seven goals in St Louis on Thursday, Chelsea and Manchester City scored eight between them at Yankee Stadium in New York, with City eventually running out 5-3 winners.
It was another entertaining encounter, but having fallen 2-0 behind in the first half courtesy of goals from Gareth Barry and Samir Nasri, we were always chasing the game.
A Ramires brace, coupled with a magnificent Juan Mata free-kick, ensured we more than played our part, but City were ruthless in front of goal and added to their tally through James Milner, another Nasri strike and Edin Dzeko.
The players now head home, before the majority embark on a thoroughly deserved holiday, and while this trip has seen us lose two games, there have been plenty of positives to take, particularly in the performances of youngsters Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Nathan Ake.
Henrique Hilario made a rare start in goal for the Blues, while having impressed in Thursday's game in St Louis, Christensen and Loftus-Cheek retained their places in the side. Ake started at left-back, and Fernando Torres, who was handed the captain's armband, played alongside Demba Ba in attack.
Having conceded a goal right at the death on Thursday, our defence was breached inside the opening three minutes at Yankee Stadium.
As we attempted to play out from the back, Oscar misplaced a pass which straight into the path of Sergio Aguero. The Argentine's shot was well saved by Hilario, but he could only parry the ball out to the feet of Barry, who was presented with a simple tap-in.
Our response was almost instant, and it took a well-timed tackle by Vincent Kompany to deny Torres as he raced through on goal.
Like Thursday's encounter, the game was developing into a very open affair, and Hilario was called into action again to save from Pablo Zabaleta.
We could, and probably should, have been level in the 11th minute. David Luiz released Ba with a wonderful pass, and after taking it in his stride, the Senegalese international drove his strike into the side netting.
Loftus-Cheek was seeing plenty of the ball early on, and the young midfielder was the victim of two rash challenges during the opening stages, first from Yaya Toure and soon after Kompany.
Hilario made a great stop from a long-range Carlos Tevez strike as Brian Kidd's side looked to extend their advantage, but two minutes later they weren't to be denied.
David Silva picked the ball up wide on the right and cut inside, before sliding a pass into the path of Nasri. Hilario was quick off his line, but he could do nothing as the Frenchman lifted the ball over him into the back of the net.
The second goal appeared to sting us into action, and after David Luiz had forced Joe Hart into a save with a powerful drive, Torres then had a goal ruled out after a second ball had been thrown on to the pitch as the corner was swung in.
From the retaken corner, Oscar's curling delivery was tipped against the bar by Hart, and soon after Torres fired wide from a tight angle.
Four minutes before the break Rafael Benitez was forced into the first substitution of the evening. Sadly Loftus-Cheek, who had performed so well, hobbled out of the action, and he was replaced by Paulo Ferreira. The substitute slotted in at left-back with Ake moving into a midfield role.
It was a tactical switch which almost paid instant reward when the young Dutchman was allowed to advance unchallenged, and crashed a brilliant strike against the top of the bar.
Our only half-time substitution saw Petr Cech come on at the expense of Hilario, but it was at the other end of the pitch where we made a quick impact, reducing the two-goal deficit inside the opening minute of the second half.
David Luiz spotted the run of Ramires and picked him out with an intelligent pass; his fellow Brazilian had timed his run to perfection and took the pass in his stride before calmly rounding Richard Wright to score.
City had made seven changes at the break, and such a significant reshuffling appeared to have had a detrimental effect.
Nine minutes into the second half, however, and against the run of play, City restored their two-goal advantage.
Substitutes Milner and Dzeko, who had both caused problems following their introductions on Thursday, exchanged passes on the edge of our penalty area, and Milner fired his strike across Cech into the bottom corner.
Benitez made his second change on the hour, when Mata, whose mere presence appeared to galvanise the supporters, replaced David Luiz.
Milner then went close to putting to putting the game out of reach from a similar position to which he scored. On this occasion, though, Cech was equal to it and made a smart stop at the near post.
With 22 minutes left on the clock, it was all to play for once more. The substitute Mata played Torres in with an intelligent pass, and the skipper did well to hold the ball up and fire across the face of goal, where Ramires was on hand to double his tally for the evening.
Five minutes later, however, City extended their lead further. Nasri, who had drifted in from the left-hand side, played a neat one-two with Dzeko and evaded the challenge of Ake inside the box. Cech raced off his line in an attempt to narrow the angle, but it made no difference as the attacker finished well.
Almost from the restart, we had a good opportunity to claw ourselves back into the game once more, but Ba was wasteful from a decent position and blasted high over the bar.
Mata had been an influential presence following his introduction and eight minutes from time he made it 4-3, converting a delightful free-kick - via the aid of the underside of the bar - after Ramires was fouled.
The momentum was once again with Chelsea, but City scored a fifth shortly after when Dzeko crashed a strike past Cech from the edge of the penalty area.
Substitute Yossi Benayoun, who had replaced Oscar midway through the second half, went close late on, drawing a save from Wright with a great header, but we were unable to breach the City defence any further and lost the match 5-3.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Hilario (Cech h/t); Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz (Mata 61), Ake; Ramires, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek (Ferreira 42), Oscar (Benayoun 66); Torres (c), Ba.
Scorers Ramires 46, 68, Mata 81
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart (Wright (h/t); Zabaleta (Maicon h/t), Kompany (c) (Lescott h/t), Boyata, Kolarov; Y Toure (Rodwell h/t), Barry; Silva (Milner h/t), Aguero (Razak h/t), Nasri; Tevez (Dzeko h/t).
Scorers Barry 3, Nasri 28, 73, Milner 54, Dzeko 83
Booked Barry 21