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.
|UEFA charges Marseille and Lyon for Europa League trouble|
|Injured Chiellini out of Italy squad|
|Buffon cites Astori among reasons for Italy return|
|Welbeck faces no action over alleged dive against Milan|
|Barcelona? I´m staying with PSG, insists Marco Verratti|
|Bastian Schweinsteiger & Ana Ivanovic announce birth of son|
|The numbers behind Cristiano Ronaldo´s 50 hat-tricks|
|Consistency the only thing stopping me from being the best, claims Depay|
|Guardiola second to none tactially, says Man City midfielder Gundogan|
|Liverpool captain Henderson ponders Salah and Suarez comparison|
|Messi worried by the uncertainty retirement brings|
|Rants, criticism a familiar story – Is Mourinho set for Man United exit?|
|Messi desperate for World Cup success|
|Napoli causing Juventus problems as Sarri revels in crucial win|
|The better Ronaldo is, the better Madrid will be – Vazquez lauds four-goal hero|
|Salah ´unstoppable´ like Messi, says Watford boss Gracia|
|Demanding Mourinho is still special, insists Matic|
|Dallas 3 Seattle Sounders 0: Dempsey sees red after VAR|
|Ronaldo ´from another galaxy´, says Zidane|
|Eusebio Sack-ristan: Real Sociedad part company with head coach|
|Fassone ready for Gattuso talks after Milan resurgence|
|Napoli 1 Genoa 0: Albiol goal maintains pressure on Juve|
|Real Madrid 6 Girona 3: Four-goal Ronaldo continues hot streak with 50th career hat-trick|
|USA boss Sarachan calls up Weah for Paraguay friendly|
|Excellent Leipzig deserved Bayern win - Heynckes|
|Conte impressed by Morata´s return to scoring form|
|I lost the game myself - Simeone accepts responsibility for Atletico Madrid defeat|
|Borussia Dortmund to delay final Stoger decision - Zorc|
|Puel stands by Schmeichel after FA Cup blunder|
|Neymar could be back for Coupe de France final, says Silva|
|Valverde waits on Iniesta answer as Barcelona captain considers exit|
|Villarreal 2 Atletico Madrid 1: Unal deals LaLiga title race blow for Simeone´s men|
|Leicester City 1 Chelsea 2 (aet): Pedro and Morata send Conte´s men through|
|RB Leipzig 2 Bayern Munich 1: Werner strike seals memorable triumph|
|Gattuso demands lift from out-of-favour Kalinic|
|Messi puts us where we are right now - Alcacer hails Barcelona superstar|
|Sampaoli ´right´ to pick others - Icardi understands Argentina snub|
|Barcelona 2 Athletic Bilbao 0: Messi and Alcacer secure comfortable success|
|Hughes excited by Southampton quality|
|Nice prepared for ´likely´ Balotelli departure|
|Germany defender Halstenberg extends RB Leipzig contract|
|No offers for Roma´s Alisson, says Monchi|
|Constant compliments guarantee defeat, claims Inter boss Spalletti|
|Scoring 100th Serie A goal at Sampdoria was ´destiny´, says Icardi|
|Stoger happy with Gotze response after public criticism|
|AC Milan 3 Chievo 2: Silva spares Rossoneri once more|
|Silva confident Neymar´s future is at PSG|
|´Shameful´ PSG cannot buy a team, says Balotelli|
|Everton goal hero Tosun glad Palace move fell through|
|Wigan Athletic 0 Southampton 2: Hojbjerg and Cedric give Hughes first win|
|Fiorentina rename training ground after late captain Astori|
|Borussia Dortmund 1 Hannover 0: Batshuayi the difference again for Stoger´s men|
|Nice 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Alves earns late victory for runaway leaders|
|Icardi 100: Inter captain´s Serie A landmark in Opta numbers|
|Sampdoria 0 Inter 5: Four-goal Icardi demolishes former side|
|Van Gaal: Heynckes can become a Bayern Munich god|
|Real Madrid without Ramos for Girona test|
|Icardi reaches 100 Serie A goals against former club Sampdoria|
|Cardiff trip to Derby postponed due to snow|
|Ogbonna gets Italy call as cover for doubtful Chiellini|
|Sunderland suspend Gibson after drink-driving charge|
|Winning FA Cup is not important, claims Chelsea coach Conte|
|No one will be compared to me – Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Melbourne Victory 5 Central Coast Mariners 2: Berisha leads rout with hat-trick|
|Marotta dismisses Allegri-PSG links as Juve focus on Can|
|MLS Review: Champions Toronto still winless, Atlanta crush Whitecaps|
|Lukaku: A lot of players will join Manchester United next season|
|Salah and Liverpool don´t fear Man City: We´ve beaten them!|
|What can I lose? - Mourinho defends criticism of Man Utd players|
|Mourinho accuses Manchester United of being scared to play|
|Mourinho delivers stinging Shaw criticism after FA Cup win|
|Allegri waits on Chiellini update after Juve´s SPAL stalemate|
|Klopp eases concerns over Can´s back complaint|
|Matic was an island of personality - Mourinho questions United mentality|
|SPAL 0 Juventus 0: Scudetto charge halted by Serie A strugglers|
|Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Lukaku & Matic book semi-final spot|
|Klopp: Salah could be among world´s best, but don´t compare him to Messi|
|Championship Review: Wolves on the charge as Monk lifts Birmingham´s spirits|
|Salah threatening Rush´s record for goals in single Liverpool season|
|Hodgson hopes Zaha avoided injury|
|Liverpool 5 Watford 0: Inspirational Salah nets four as Reds bounce back|
|Lambert rues Everton´s ´offside´ opener in costly Stoke City defeat|
|Man Utd bench Pogba & Sanchez for FA Cup quarter-final|
|Pardew: Evans loss key to Bournemouth defeat|
|Salah breaks Torres´ impressive Liverpool record|
|We are not heroes one day and villains the next – Mourinho continues defence of Sevilla exit|
|They have many players who´d get in my team – The Sevilla stars Mourinho should buy|
|Mario Gomez will not beg for World Cup place|
|Bournemouth 2 West Brom 1: Stanislas piles misery on Pardew|
|Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Crystal Palace 2: Tomkins and Milivojevic secure priceless win|
|Stoke City 1 Everton 2: Tosun at the double after Adam´s early dismissal|
|Simeone insists Atletico can survive injury crisis|
|Leipzig out to halt Bayern celebrations at Red Bull Arena|
|Board accepts responsibility for West Ham woes, Brady claims|
|In-form Eriksen hopes he hasn´t hit Tottenham ceiling|
|Roma boss Di Francesco happy with Messi, Barca challenge|
|The directors know where to find me - Gattuso awaits Milan talks|
|Zidane focused on Real Madrid players, not Neymar|
|Mourinho´s United rant recalls unhappy Madrid demise|
|Swansea City 0 Tottenham 3: Eriksen leads Kane-less Spurs into FA Cup semis|
|Valverde not worried about Barcelona legacy|
|Bale is happy at Real Madrid, says Zidane|
|Spalletti seeks consistency as Inter prepare for final push|
|Absence of ´best in the world´ Busquets makes Rakitic key for Barca|
|A-League Review: Sydney stumble again as Jets close gap|
|Dreadshock! Neymar reveals new hairdo|
|Villarreal defender Semedo denied bail on attempted murder charge|
|Messi: I´m a less selfish player|
|Coaching Italy would be extraordinary – Mancini|
|Intensity key to Liverpool toppling Man City, says Klopp|
|People listen to idiots - Mourinho cites ´dictionary of life´ in extraordinary rant|
|Mourinho tells struggling Manchester United stars to ´grow up´|