Manchester City will have been content to leave the quagmire of Hong Kong Stadium's pitch unscathed and with passage to Saturday's final against Sunderland secured after starting their pre-season tour with the two defeats in South Africa. A first-half goal from Edin Dzeko was enough to secure a 1-0 win against South China.
The fierce storm that hit the former British colony before the evening's two Asia Trophy semi-finals threatened to end any hope of football, before the decision was made to reduce the matches to 40 minutes per half per game.
With Tottenham Hotspur having lost 3-1 to Paolo Di Canio's side in the opening tie, during which Jan Vertonghen twisted a knee on the slippy surface, Manuel Pellegrini sent out a strong XI.
Fernandinho, the £27m close-season acquisition, anchored midfield with Gareth Barry, behind a front four that featured Yaya Touré in the free berth from which many Blues fans wish to see him operate permanently.
Manuel Pellegrini intends to settle on a 4-3-3 as his base shape, and with the formation here starting that way and featuring a fluidity to the movement of Samir Nasri, Touré, Barry and Co, a snapshot of the new City way under the Chilean was clear to see.
Touré was the key link in Dzeko's first-half winner. Vincent Kompany made the first intervention, dispossessing South China, the champions of Hong Kong, in midfield. The captain fed Touré, who had dropped off the front, and his pass went smoothly to Barry, who found James Milner down the right. His cross was stood up for Dzeko to beat Zhang Chunhui with ease.
Alvaro Negredo, the £20.6m buy from Sevilla last week, had his first 29 minutes in a City shirt as the replacement for Touré. Milner might have given him the perfect night only a few moments later but the usually trusty right boot failed to find Negredo when he would have had a free header similar to that of Dzeko's.
South China might have equalised when Dhiego de Souza Martins careered into the City area and threatened to beat Joe Hart before the defence scrambled away the danger.
A glimpse of why Negredo has been bought came in a deft flick of his left foot that looped the ball into the path of Dzeko, whose shot was saved well by Chunhui.
Pellegrini's moulding of the side is still in its infancy but it is clear from this outing that Jesús Navas, who was not in the matchday squad, will be asked to supply the genuine pace that City have missed and is a key component of the new manager's blueprint.
South China (4-5-1): Chunhui; Sealy, Ka Keung, Padiha, Pong; Fung, Bertoldi, Mesquita, Barry, Wai Lim (Hong Lim, 52); Michael (Martins, h-t)
Subs not used Ho, Fai, Pavlovic, Pereira, Ho, Kwan, Garlock, Ho, Wai, Jige
Manchester City (4-3-3): Hart; Zabaleta (Sinclair, 76), Kompany, Lescott, Clichy (Kolarov, ht); Fernandinho (García, 71), Barry (Rodwell, 55), Touré (Negredo, 55); Milner, Dzeko (Richards, 76), Nasri
Subs not used Pantilimon, Agüero, Nastasic, Suárez, Boyata, Tchuimeni-Nimley, Huws, Razak
Referee Anthony Taylor