It was City who started the better of the two sides in Birmingham, with Argentine striker Carlos Tevez forcing Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech into a diving save from distance with three minutes on the clock.
Skipper Vincent Kompany was next to test Cech, but he headed straight at the keeper.
New signing Eden Hazard was also denied by the Romanian in the 28th minute.
The breakthrough eventually arrived with 39 minutes played. The ball broke loose inside the City penalty area and Torres reacted quickest to lift the ball over Pantilimon from close range.
Chelsea found themselves a man light just two minutes later though. Serbian defender Ivanovic went in hard on his compatriot Kolarov and referee Kevin Friend deemed the challenge serious enough to warrant a red card.
Despite the numerical advantage, City were unable to find an equaliser before the whistle.