Sergio Aguero hacked wide from a chance Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer would normally convert wearing carpet slippers and Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones celebrated the let-off by getting booked for labouring over the goal-kick.
It was that kind of error-strewn, forgettable night. Then, a diminutive number 47 emerged from the home bench and the applause began.
The reputation for youth development in these parts historically lies with Manchester United, from the Busby Babes to Fergie's Fledglings, but City's academy has played an important role behind the scenes of rapidly changing circumstances over the past 20 years.
Relaunched under the expert guidance of Jim Cassell at the end of the last century, a youth set-up housed at Platt Lane and then Carrington provided a source of identity and income as City found their feet once again in the top tier. Debuts from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge among others were keenly awaited and generally worthy of the billing.
But Phil Foden is different. While Wright-Phillips, Richards and the rest were shimmering blue bolts amid the general grey, Foden's time is one of plenty of east Manchester. A growing band of admirers expect him to fit straight in.
The 17-year-old from Stockport was an unused substitute against Celtic at this stage of the Champions League last season but became the talk of City's fanbase with some classy pre-season performances in the International Champions Cup.
Pep Guardiola recognised a player attuned to the style he adores – quick-thinking, quick-passing, always on the move.
“You are the lucky guys who saw the first game, for the first team for Manchester City, of this guy," he told a post-match news conference after United won the first and probably only Manchester derby to be staged in Houston.
Last month, Foden sprung to national prominence with a brace in the final as England stunned Spain 5-2 to win the Under-17 World Cup. He was named player of the tournament.
Four wins from four in the Champions League this season, mirroring their mastery of the Premier League up until this point, meant City were already assured of a place in the last-16 by the time Group F whipping boys Feyenoord came to town.
Foden's debut beckoned and, after 75 listless minutes devoid of the jeopardy that made the recent wins over Napoli so thrilling, it arrived. Yaya Toure, a man twice the age of his fresh-faced colleague, lumbered off. Time will tell over whether a torch was passed.
On first sight, Foden is an elegantly natural ballplayer. He was instantly into the action, trotting over to Danilo to receive a throw-in on the restart from his own introduction.
Seconds later he shuffled towards the Feyenoord defence and set fellow substitute Gabriel Jesus scampering into a dangerous area down the left.
The rookie took corners, completed every pass attempted in the opposition half and looked like he belonged in a tidy cameo. This club and its fanbase badly need him to, irrespective of the otherworldly thrills being brought forth on a weekly basis by Guardiola's galaxy of stars.
At boardroom level, for all the lavish spending, City now turn in profits. Sustainability is expected to be maintained and the new home for the youth academy at the Etihad Campus has come at no little expense.
Ten years ago, a sparsely populated City squad was thickened by homegrown players, whereas now competition is fierce and many of their brightest youngsters over the past decade – England right-back Kieran Trippier springs instantly to mind – have been forced elsewhere and prospered.
The talk around Foden is of a once-in-a-generation talent. If Tuesday's outing is the first of many for a lifelong City fan, it would mean the world to supporters and be a notable landmark for the Sheikh Mansour era.
It would also, evidently, mean the world to Foden. When Raheem Sterling slammed home to secure a late 1-0 win, the substitute was not involved but sprinted eagerly across the field and was the first to wrap the England winger in an embrace. He was living a boyhood dream and revelling in every second.
|Gattuso: Donnarumma shaken by abuse from AC Milan fans|
|Pellegrino calls for Southampton reaction|
|Benitez ´needs to know´ extent of Newcastle´s transfer budget|
|Zidane will not request striker signing despite Benzema blanks|
|Bournemouth excellent in Old Trafford loss – Howe|
|Wilshere´s performance ´very positive´, says Wenger|
|Pochettino challenges Spurs to keep top-four berth|
|I´d be in Brazil if the title race was over – Mourinho|
|It was hard to watch - Clement wowed by City´s dominance of Swansea|
|Bailly may require surgery on ´serious´ ankle injury|
|Klopp uncertain on Solanke´s disallowed goal|
|Guardiola sure record-breaking City won´t get complacent|
|Puel focuses on Leicester win, not Southampton revenge|
|Strasbourg 2 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Revenge is sweet for Emery´s men|
|Tottenham 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Aurier scores a fluke as Spurs go fourth|
|West Ham 0 Arsenal 0: Wasteful Gunners drop points for third game in a row|
|Liverpool 0 West Brom 0: More frustration for Klopp as hosts draw again|
|Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Lukaku eases scoring concerns after derby day woes|
|AC Milan 3 Verona 0: Bonaventura shines as Gattuso´s side march on|
|Manchester City set new Premier League winning streak|
|Newcastle United 0 Everton 1: Rooney haunts Magpies again|
|Swansea City 0 Manchester City 4: Silva sparkles as Guardiola´s record-breakers march on|
|Southampton 1 Leicester City 4: Puel serves up Saints revenge|
|Bayern Munich 1 Cologne 0: Lewandowski opens nine-point gap in Bundesliga|
|Finn: There was ´way more´ going out during England´s 2010-11 Ashes tour|
|Jaguars formula the key to playoff success for Wentz-less Eagles|
|Mourinho slams Manchester derby penalty decision in programme notes|
|This is my last season at Monaco – Fabinho|
|Bale: Football would be better without VAR|
|Thought Mayweather v McGregor was 2017´s biggest sporting event? Think again!|
|Manchester United´s Gomes pens professional contract|
|Al Jazira 1 Real Madrid 2: Bale spares Spanish blushes at Club World Cup|
|Ronaldo takes goalscoring record from Messi|
|Al Jazira stun Real Madrid to take half-time lead in Club World Cup|
|Neymar returns to PSG after break|
|I just went through my routine – Rohit delighted with latest double hundred|
|Vuelta organiser hopes for quick resolution to Froome investigation|
|Iniesta would welcome Barca pursuit of Coutinho|
|FA extends deadline for Manchester clubs to respond over alleged derby fracas|
|Wigan Warriors confirm Sarginson return|
|Magnificent Rohit doubles up as India hammer Sri Lanka|
|Dybala clever enough to listen to Nedved - Buffon|
|Willian not ready to walk out on Chelsea|
|Arsenal striker Lacazette not counting on title miracle|
|Fury licence to be considered by BBBofC in January|
|Sarginson released by Titans|
|World Cup glory worth €350,000 to Germany stars|
|All Blacks skipper Read to undergo back surgery|
|I live day by day - Buffon ponders Euro 2020|
|Remarkable Rohit smashes third ODI double-century|
|West Ham eyeing Wilshere swoop in January|
|Bairstow up to six in unchanged England team|
|Klopp reveals hamstring scare for Liverpool star Salah|
|England can still win Ashes as Hoggard urges Root´s men to smarten up|
|Vuelta champion Froome asked to explain drugs test|
|FFA refuses to speculate on Scolari amid Socceroos interest|
|Mavs spoil Leonard´s season debut, LeBron enjoys career-high night|
|Ronaldo hoping to play with Benzema and Bale again|
|Smith: Pitch conditions in Perth to determine Handscomb fate|
|Packers star Rodgers cleared to return against Panthers|
|Mourinho takes aim at reporters as Man United boss leaves news conference|
|You can put the kickoff back at the 30 – Hester announces retirement|
|Roberts confirms Dodgers were ´very in tune´ with Stanton, Ohtani|
|Fleury set for Golden Knights return after two months in concussion protocol|
|Dodgers All-Star Seager set to avoid elbow surgery|
|´Bull****´ to suggest Chelsea can catch Man City – Conte|
|Pordenone would´ve deserved Coppa Italia progression, admits Spalletti|
|Azarenka granted wildcard for Australian Open|
|Root urges England to stand up and put things right|
|Man City haven´t won anything yet – Gundogan|