After Branislav Ivanovic has rightly been sent off for a reckless challenge late in the first half, Yaya Toure cancelled out Fernando Torres' 40th minute strike early in the second period. That goal was quickly followed by fine efforts from Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri before Ryan Bertrand gave the Blues hope late on.
Not uncommon for a match that, although a glorified version, is essentially an exhibition, the game got off to a slow start as both sides felt each other out in the early stages. Certainly Manchester City had thrown something of a surprise by lining up in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
It would be Chelsea, featuring the only summer signing on show Eden Hazard, who struck first.
Ramires controlled neatly on the edge of the box before prodding a ball into the area that may have got the merest of touches from Juan Mata's flick before finding its way to Torres, who showed the composure and scoring instincts of old to knock the ball past Costel Pantilimon.
Chelsea undid much of their good work just two minutes later, however. Branislav Ivanovic dived in two-footed on his fellow-Serbian Aleksander Kolarov with the left foot clearly over the ball, leaving referee Kevin Friend little choice but to produce the red.
While Chelsea maintained their lead for the closing stages of the first half, City would have to wait just eight minutes to get back into the match after the restart.
A deflected cross from James Milner was only helped out to Yaya Toure on the edge of the box, courtesy of a poor clearance from John Terry, and the influential midfielder drove a fine low effort past Petr Cech at his near post. While Terry was clearly at fault, Cech, too, may not feel too comfortable with his part in allowing the goal.
Just five minutes later, City took the lead for the first time.
While Toure's strike was impressive, Tevez produced an even more eye-catching effort. The controversial forward, seemingly refocused ahead of the new season, cut across the area, evading the challenges of Chelsea' central defensive pair of David Luiz and John Terry as he did so, before firing a wonderful finish into the top corner.
Certainly Brazilian Luiz did not appear to react well to being outdone by the rampaging Argentinian. Just minutes later, in a moment of uncontrolled recklessness, Luiz pushed Tevez to the ground in the area, before aiming a kick in his opponent's direction after Tevez had got back to his feet. That no call was given was certainly a let off for Chelsea.
But their reprieve did not last long as City scored their third goal in a 12 minute spell.
Tevez was involved again as he slid the ball outside to Kolarov down the left, who crossed precisely first time to find Nasri perfectly for the French midfielder to produce a delightful volley past Cech with the outside of his weaker left foot.
In what was turning into a whirlwind of a second-half, City gifted Chelsea a way back into the match 10 minutes from the end. Two substitutes were involved as Daniel Sturridge struck a low and firm left-footed drive from outside the box, but what should have been a comfortable save was spilled by Pantilimon to allow Ryan Bertrand to nip in and poke the ball home as City's goalkeeper tried to scramble back across his goal.
Despite being down to 10 men, Chelsea were able to pressure their opponents in the closing stages, but City hung on to claim the first silverware of the new season.