In the end, the final result was the one most had expected.
Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich ended with Pep Guardiola's side in the hat for the semi-finals.
United can take credit for the way they made Bayern work for it.
They landed a blow in the first leg at Old Trafford when many were predicting a humiliating defeat. And, in truth, Bayern were never comfortable until the final 15 of the 180 minutes.
That, however, should be of little comfort to David Moyes and his players.
The cities of Manchester and Munich will always be linked by the air disaster that decimated Sir Matt Busby's Babes in 1958.
But even if Bayern's victory here wasn't as emphatic as many thought it would be, it still highlighted the gap that has developed between the two clubs.
In the 2010 quarter-final, the Germans were the underdogs. United, meanwhile, were in the middle of a run of three Champions League finals in four years.
The challenge for Moyes now is to return them to that level. It remains to be seen whether he's capable of it.
A club of United's size and stature shouldn't be targeting a top-four finish in the Premier League. They should be aiming to win back-to-back Champions League titles in the way Bayern are this season.
The record books will show that United gave Bayern a scare in the 2013/14 quarter-final. It might have been different had they been able to hold the lead for more than 70 seconds after Patrice Evra's spectacular opener.
But they have still been dominated for two games.
Guardiola's side monopolised the ball for two legs, and United were forced to scrap and fight for any kind of foothold.
That rarely happened under Sir Alex Ferguson.
But Moyes shouldn't be criticised for his tactics. He wanted to make his team hard to beat and he achieved it. He did the best with the tools he had available, against one of the best teams in the world.
But for a club like United, it's not a viable blueprint going forward.
Seventh in the Premier League with five games remaining, it is likely that they won't play in Europe's top club competition next season.
But when they return, they will be expected to be better prepared to deal with the rigours of a knockout tie with the likes of Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
That's the level demanded at Old Trafford—by the fans, if no one else.
Creditable failure against perhaps the best team in the world is likely to buy Moyes some time. But it is failure, nonetheless.
At United, Champions League quarter-finals are the minimum requirement. There is a pressure on their managers to win this competition, not settle for a place in the last eight.
Such is the level of expectation, even if they miss out for a year, they will be expected to challenge for the trophy immediately on their return.
It's the responsibility Moyes accepted when he agreed to succeed Ferguson last summer.
This season has been filled with such disappointment that expectations were lowered ahead of the tie with Bayern. And, in his quieter moments, Moyes might be quite glad to escape with United's dignity intact.
But it won't be like that forever.
Eventually, United will be expected to go toe-to-toe with teams of Bayern's quality and come out on top.
Given the circumstances, Moyes and United can feel proud of how far they pushed the reigning European champions.
But at a club with United's history of success, it's only ever victory that can be truly celebrated.
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