It was not the match many expected.
Manchester United received two first half goals from forward Danny Welbeck, but FC Basel's Alexander Frei returned the favour with two goals of his own, as an intense Champions League match at Old Trafford ended in a 3-3 result in group play action.
The Red Devils may have been a little overconfident going into the second half after two goals in consecutive minutes by Welbeck, who proved that the United attack still has punch with Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez sidelined. His goals in the 16th and 17th minute gave Sir Alex Ferguson's squad a comfortable lead, but it turned out to not be enough, as United needed a 90th minute goal from Ashley Young to earn the draw.
The Basel comeback in the second half was magnificent. The Swiss club was not quite the intimidated club some may have thought they would be going into the match, as they roared back with an efficient attack led by Fabian Frei. The right midfielder took a rebound off David De Gea's block in the box in the 58th minute, and ripped a shot in traffic that hit the post and went into the goal, as De Gea could do nothing but watch.
United's body language seemed to immediately sour when their comfortable two-goal lead was cut in half, and their opponents were interested in more than just saving face. Two minutes after Basel's first goal, they got their equalizer after a fantastic in-swinger from Fabian Frei to non-related teammate Alexander Frei, who headed the ball in as centre back Rio Ferdinand watched the ball sail over his head.
Unfortunately for Manchester United, the under-dogs weren't finished. In the 76th minute, Antonio Valencia's made enough contact in the box to garner a penalty, and Alexander Frei delivered to the top corner of the goal to give Basel the lead in front of a mostly stunned crowd.
The whistle on Valencia was somewhat questionable, but referee Paolo Tagliavento didn't seem to budge when he made the call.
What proceeded after the penalty goal was a desperate Manchester United squad that tried to exploit any weakness they could find in the Basel defense. Tagliavento started making his presence known as he gave fits to substitute Ji Sung Park, stepping in front of the South Korean midfielder on more than one occasion, and denying him a foul call in the final minutes of the match.
It was Nani's cross to Young in stoppage time that turned out to be what saved United from an epic collapse. The Portuguese winger's strategic cross was right on target for Young to head the ball in on the near post in a ball that goalkeeper Jann Sommer probably should have blocked.
Manchester United took 16 shots with nine on goal, while Basel took 14 shots with five on goal. The Red Devils had possession for 60 percent of the match.
Ferguson used a rather interesting starting 11 with so many players sidelined for the match. Ryan Giggs was moved up to forward alongside Welbeck, while Dimitar Berbatov came off the bench in the 82nd minute.
Berbatov only received a few touches, but when he did they were potentially game-changing. He flicked the ball with his head in the 88th minute, and kicked the ball into the side netting in what basically was the last real play of the match.
Before the match, Ferguson had stated that, Basel have good experience, they've been in Europe quite a few times and we'll respect that.
Meanwhile, Basel head coach Thorsten Fink warned before the match that we haven't come here to sit and watch, we have come here to play.
The Swiss club showed that they can give an elite club like Manchester United a major test at Old Trafford.