Pep Guardiola sank back into his seat with a look of disbelief and disgust. Not once but twice. He had warned his players about the perils of cheap goals in Europe and they failed to heed his words at the Etihad.
Luckily for Manchester City, there was a small price to pay on this occasion. A four-goal lead from the first leg in Switzerland last month meant they were never in danger of losing this Champions League last-16 tie.
City go into the quarter-final draw for only the second time and that was never in doubt.
But Guardiola has told his players to respect the fine margins in this competition. If they make silly mistakes against the best in Europe, he has said, City will be on the way out.
They were punished twice here despite taking an early lead through Gabriel Jesus, suffering only their fourth defeat in all competitions this season.
Guardiola could point to the fact that it was a weakened team showing six changes from Sunday’s win over Chelsea, and one that struggled to rouse itself on a subdued night in wat amounted to a dead rubber.
But that is not his style. Guardiola demands the highest standards from his players, whatever team he puts out, and he looked furious at what he saw here.
City’s win in Switzerland had rendered this game rather meaningless considering they were unbeaten in their 13 home ties in the Champions League.
‘I could say, “you have to believe” but it would look a bit daft in front of the team,’ admitted Basle boss Raphael Wicky beforehand.
It gave Guardiola a rare opportunity to give his fringe players some game time in the last 16 of the Champions League.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Manchester City (4-3-3): Bravo 6; Danilo 6, Stones 5, Laporte 5.5, Zinchenko 5; Gundogan 6 (Diaz 66, 6), Toure 6, Foden 6.5 (Adarabioyo 89); B Silva 6.5, Jesus 6, Sane 7
Subs not used: Ederson, Walker, Aguero, De Bruyne, Otamendi
Goalscorers: Jesus 8
Basle (3-4-3): Vaclik 6; Suchy 6, Frei 6, Lacroix 6; Lang 7.5, Serey Die 6.5, Zuffi 6, Riveros 7; Bua 6 (Stocker 68, 6), Oberlin 6 (Van Wolfswinkel 74, 6), Elyounoussi 7
Subs not used: Salvi, Ajeti, Manzambi, Petretta, Kaiser
Goalscorers: Elyounoussi 17, Lang 71
Referee: Pavel Kralovec 6.
Riveros burst down the left and again Stones could have done better as he failed to cut out his cross. The ball reached Mohamed Elyounoussi and he had time to size up a shot before ramming it inside Bravo’s right-hand post.
It all went a little flat after that. City continued to dominate without making any great inroads, much to the frustration of their fans, while Basle’s boisterous followers made the most of their last sight of this competition for at least another year.
It wasn’t usual fluid City performance, which was perhaps not surprising given the six changes made by Guardiola, and they were punished with a second goal in the 71st minute.
Toure, who had looked sharp up to that point despite his lack of first-team action, tracked Elyounoussi’s run into the box as the Basle winger skipped past the disappointing Zinchenko.
He looked to have contained the threat until Elyounoussi turned away and played the ball into the path of Michael Lang.