Manchester City’s home defeat by Lyon last Saturday meant very little in the context of last season – but it assumes new significance now.
The Blues recovered from that shock – their only home defeat in the last nine European home games – to top their Champions League group as Lyon, remarkably, drew all of their other five games.
Now the clubs meet again in the quarter-final of this season’s competition, in a one-off game in Lisbon, with City firm favourites to progress.
But that home loss will niggle away at the Blues – and perhaps give them the extra edge they might need on the night.
So what went wrong at the Etihad Stadium on that night,nearly two years ago? We narrowed it down to five reasons, all of which City should be able to put right this time.
Lyon were excellent on the night, but both of their goals came from basic errors, with stand-in left back Fabian Delph failing to cut out a Nabil Fekir cross to give Maxwell Cornet the opener, while a misunderstanding between Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte allowed Fekir in for the second.
City have been making those kind of errors this season, but have sharpened up their act since the re-start and were focussed and clinical in defence against Real Madrid.
Lack of intensity
Maybe it was because it was the first of six group games, or maybe they underestimated Lyon, but City let their usual intensity drop significantly in the first half and were two goals down by half time.
With the stakes so high this time, and the quarter-final reduced to one lot of 90 minutes, the Blues should show the same intensity they did against Real.
Against Lyon, City had John Stones and Delph in the back four, and with Fernandinho and probably Joao Cancelo replacing them, they have a firmer look about them.
The long-term loss of Kevin De Bruyne was not a big factor for the Blues in that season, but this was a game where his drive and energy was missed. The Belgium star could be crucial this time around.
Have your say in our Man City end-of-season survey:
The French side squeezed the midfield, setting traps for City’s sharp passing, with Tanguy Ndombele dominating the centre of the park, and sparking a thousand transfer rumours.
City have shown they can adapt better these days – against Real they went long much more often, happy to bypass a crowded midfield.
Their ability to mix it up more is becoming evident.
It is hard to say how much effect the brooding presence of the manager allowed the players to relax, with Guardiola sitting, complete with flat cap, alongside his son in the stand.
But it was their only defeat in the last nine European games, and you wonder whether Mikel Arteta’s lesser authority might have accounted for the drop in energy and intensity in the first half.