Nawaf Al-Abid's clinical second-half strike was enough to brighten up a low-key contest in the Austrian Alps.
City boss Roberto Mancini fielded a number of star names with Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez all involved from the start but - with the exception of Pablo Zabaleta's marauding runs from right-back and a couple of dangerous Adam Johnson crosses - City rarely threatened.
Mancini made 10 changes at the break, but it was a tepid affair throughout.
The youthful City side that took to the field in the second period started well but were undone in the 68th minute when Al-Abid pounced on a loose ball 20 yards out, stepped away from Dedryck Boyata and drilled a low left-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Slovakian forward Vladimir Weiss was one of those introduced at half-time and his ingenuity helped craft some chances for City after they fell behind but Kolo Toure, who took the armband from Kompany, spurned their best chance - stooping low to head Weiss's cross from the right over the bar.
Al-Hilal were assured enough in possession and could have made it two before the end when Stefan Savic failed to clear - but Fahad Al-Johani fired well over from 12 yards.
Many of City's stars remain on holiday after the European Championships, but Mancini will be hoping for better as their pre-season tour of Austria continues with matches against Dynamo Dresden and Besiktas, ahead of their US tour later this month.