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.
FT | 1-0 #cityvfey
Top spot secured
17 wins in a row
A successful night in the end for the Blues! pic.twitter.com/eJKnOX4tcJ
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 21, 2017
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.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 21, 2017
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.
|Neymar to face Real Madrid despite ankle injury, expects Emery|
|If Griezmann grows, we all grow - Simeone hails Atletico´s Sevilla rout|
|Cavani worried about Neymar ankle injury|
|Silva: Neymar a doubt for Coupe de France quarter-final|
|Hat-trick hero Griezmann dreaming big in Atleti´s title bid|
|Before a manager I´m a human being - Guardiola explains continued ribbon protest|
|Neymar carried off on stretcher in PSG injury blow|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Marseille 0: Neymar injured in easy Classique win|
|Roma 0 AC Milan 2: Cutrone and Calabria secure superb win for Rossoneri|
|Sevilla 2 Atletico Madrid 5: Griezmann hat-trick sinks sorry hosts|
|Wenger trolled by Wembley official in Man City humbling|
|Wenger goes easy on Mustafi, despite Wembley woe|
|It´d be a dream - Henry wants Arsenal manager´s job|
|Man City just getting started, warns De Bruyne|
|Wenger rues early Aubameyang miss after Wembley humbling|
|Gary Neville blasts ´spineless´ Arsenal after EFL Cup final|
|Neymar shakes off virus to start for PSG in Le Classique vs Marseille|
|Guardiola sets sights on further silverware after ´outstanding´ EFL Cup triumph|
|EFL Cup social round-up: Men against boys and Wenger Out|
|Kompany: Winning EFL Cup makes injury nightmare worthwhile|
|I´ve signed for a football team, claims Usain Bolt|
|Van Gaal dismisses Chelsea rumours as ´fake news´|
|Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3: Guardiola thrashes Wenger for first English trophy|
|Pochettino plans throw-in practice for Aurier|
|Conte hints at unhappiness with Hazard work-rate in Man Utd loss|
|Mourinho v Conte: All smiles and handshakes on the touchline as feud cools|
|Mourinho hails Lukaku display against old club Chelsea|
|Mourinho on Conte handshake: It doesn´t need words|
|Conte demands VAR after Morata sees Old Trafford equaliser ruled out|
|Pochettino defends ´easy target´ Alli after Van Aanholt clash|
|Juventus v Atalanta postponed due to snow|
|Criticism never affected me - Lukaku revels in comeback Man Utd win|
|Guardiola wears yellow ribbon at Wembley despite FA charge|
|Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1: Lukaku and Lingard complete Old Trafford comeback|
|Chambers in as Wenger picks back three at Wembley|
|Pochettino satisfied with ´deserved´ Tottenham victory|
|It´s getting boring! - Dier lauds Kane following last-gasp winner|
|Lukaku finally makes big-game breakthrough for Manchester United|
|€70m not enough to prise Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio|
|Tah pens Leverkusen extension until 2023|
|Cardiff City 1 Bristol City 0: Zohore the hero again as Bluebirds win derby|
|Crystal Palace 0 Tottenham 1: Late Kane header snatches victory|
|Skriniar sees himself at Inter ´for many years´|
|Pogba, Martial start for Manchester United as Chelsea bring back Morata|
|Aluko under consideration as Neville offers Sampson critics ´clean slate´|
|Inter did not invent Icardi injury, Spalletti insists|
|Gilberto Silva: Wilshere´s mental strength key to success|
|Lewandowski: Agent change nothing to do with ´funny´ Real Madrid talk|
|Barcelona´s Semedo facing five weeks out with hamstring injury|
|Dier has no regrets over Manchester United snub|
|No scorpion kick for Ospina as he relishes Wembley final|
|Kante: Chelsea can take confidence from Barca draw|
|Mierzejewski magic fires Sydney FC to derby glory|
|´Best in history´ Messi lauded by Coutinho, Busquets|
|I enjoy living this way! - Aubameyang won´t change lavish lifestyle|
|Mustafi wary of De Bruyne threat in EFL Cup final|
|Coman suffers ankle injury in Bayern draw|
|I was right to turn down Man City move in 2016, says Laporte|
|Navas not surprised by Ronaldo´s Benzema gesture|
|Ausilio: Contract talks with Inter´s Icardi done in silence|
|Mourinho tells McTominay to follow his heart amid international headache|
|I play for France´s biggest club – Marseille star Payet fires barb at PSG|
|Main priority was to win - Spalletti praises Inter´s ´heart´ after beating Benevento|
|Father fuels Conte´s fire ahead of Mourinho reunion|
|Valverde steers clear of Barcelona yellow card controversy|
|Play like it´s a friendly - Guardiola reveals finals secret ahead of Arsenal clash|
|Barcelona equal record for unbeaten LaLiga run|
|Inter 2 Benevento 0: Nerazzurri pick up much-needed win at San Siro|
|Barcelona 6 Girona 1: Suarez treble and Messi masterclass settle Catalan clash|
|Messi makes Girona 36th LaLiga victims to set new record|
|Deeney ´not bothered´ after ending drought from open play|
|Championship Review: Fulham beat Wolves, Sunderland hold Boro in ill-tempered thriller|
|Watford 1 Everton 0: Stunning Deeney finish moves hosts six clear of trouble|
|Benitez rues missed chances as Newcastle lose two-goal lead|
|Heynckes ´can live´ with home Bayern draw|
|Ronaldo is a team player - Zidane hails Real Madrid star´s Benzema gesture|
|West Ham fans reference Hitler in protest at club´s owners|
|Dyche dismayed by decisions before Gabbiadini goal|
|Wagner impressed with Huddersfield´s commitment after vital win|
|Liverpool win had everything – Klopp enthuses over West Ham´s Anfield rout|
|Dunk equals record for own goals in a single Premier League season|
|Real Madrid 4 Alaves 0: Ronaldo at the double as ´BBC´ delight|
|Burnley 1 Southampton 1: Gabbiadini grabs late leveller|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 4 Swansea City 1: Two-goal Murray helps end Swans´ unbeaten run|
|Bournemouth 2 Newcastle United 2: Hosts in thrilling fightback after Gayle double|
|West Brom 1 Huddersfield Town 2: Van La Parra and Mounie seal vital win|
|Liverpool 4 West Ham 1: Salah nets again as Reds climb to second|
|Ill Neymar included in PSG squad for Le Classique|
|Bayern Munich 0 Hertha Berlin 0: Lewandowski´s run ends as leaders are held at home|
|Gattuso surprised by AC Milan´s growth since taking over|
|Lambert defends ´best goalkeeper in Britain´ Butland after own goal error|
|Mkhitaryan, Ozil potential excites Mertesacker|
|A-League Review: Perth Glory in dramatic win, Melbourne Victory end losing streak|
|Leicester City 1 Stoke City 1: Butland howler costs Potters|
|Matic insists Man Utd can still do ´big things´|
|Chinese Super League transfer window makes Simeone ´uncomfortable´|
|Ingolstadt score bizarre tap-in after Duisburg goalkeeper goes AWOL|
|Allegri cautious over Dybala fitness despite Higuain injury|
|Napoli´s Zielinski better than De Bruyne, claims Boniek|
|Mourinho predicts ´amazing´ period for Manchester United|
|Barcelona midfielder Rafinha hoping to seal permanent Inter move|
|EFL Cup final: Where do Aguero and Aubameyang rank among Europe´s elite?|
|Settled Salah demands Champions League qualification for Liverpool|
|Dembele staying focused after ´genius´ praise from Pochettino|
|Alli doesn´t dive, says Hodgson|
|Salah has world´s best left foot? Don´t forget Messi – Klopp|
|Pochettino: Vertonghen one of Europe´s best defenders|
|He hasn´t raised the bar – Wenger plays down Guardiola success|
|Klopp ´really proud´ of Firmino after Holgate case dropped|