Manchester United looked set to win their Champions League Group stage encounter with BSC Young Boys in as routine a way as possible.
Away against an inferior team, Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the second game running to put them ahead. Almost as if their financial might and sheer talent would win the game symbolically.
Then, Aaron Wan-Bissaka got sent off, providing a way back for the Swiss team.
Manchester United went on to lose the game 2 – 1, the winning goal coming in the dying seconds.
It was a Jesse Lingard error that gifted BSC their winning goal. After the game, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rued the lack of discipline.
“It’s in football in general, not just the Champions League, discipline is a huge part of the game,” Solskjaer said.
“Aaron’s normally a very, very astute tackler — one of the best in the world. We know we’ve given ourselves a more difficult task than what we did last year but everyone thought we were through after two games last year.
“You need 10, maybe 12, points, you need to win your home games, win one away from home.
“Of course we’ve lost the opportunity to get three points but we’ve got two home games next and got to focus on them two.
“That’s football for you at the highest level. Lack of concentration, make a mistake and you get punished. You get done.
“We did that last year in Europe. We conceded two sloppy counter-attacks against Basaksehir and we lost that game.
“Today in the last seconds Jesse just wants to play it safe and just one misplaced pass and you’ve conceded a goal. That happens in football.
“In hindsight — Harry hindsight — he’s a very good player so of course Jesse if he can get that chance again he’ll turn and swivel and boot it the other way. We’ll learn from it.”
Solskjaer is right to make the Basaksehir comparison, because this was just as calamitous. He is also right to say they will learn from it, because they have to.
Manchester United brought in Sancho, Varane and Ronaldo over the summer. Those are the signings of a team who wants to win now, not one that still has lessons to learn.
After being questioned at the start of his UTD tenure, Solskjaer has put a lot of credit in the bank. However, if this team keeps floundering in Europe, he will find himself in the red again.