Chelsea FC experienced another night of UEFA Cup misery when a goal three minutes from time by Erik Nevland, once of Manchester United FC, turned defeat into victory and put part-timers Viking FK through to the second round, winning 4-2 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate.
It was the third consecutive season in which Chelsea's highly-paid collection of internationals have gone out early in the competition and each time to one of Europe's lesser-known lights.
Put paid to ambitions
Two years ago it was the Swiss club FC St. Gallen who put paid to Chelsea's European ambitions, and then last season Hapoel Tel-Aviv defeated them after several Chelsea players declined to make the trip to Israel because of the political unrest in that country.
Cold, wet and windy
This time injury and suspension meant that defenders Marcel Desailly, Mario Melchiot and Celestine Babayaro were unable to make the trip to Stavanger. Even so, the team which Claudio Ranieri put out should have been good enough to see them through, even if they did hold a tenuous 2-1 first-leg lead.
A Viking goal after eight minutes seemed to knock the stuffing out of Chelsea, Morten Berre forcing the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble initiated when Carlo Cudicini failed to collect a corner. Chelsea's defensive errors continued when John Terry, starting his first game of the season, lost possession cheaply to Nevland and his adroit backheel was fired in by the inventive Peter Kopteff, arguably the best player on the field.
Dead and buried
Chelsea appeared to be dead and buried at that stage but a goal by the industrious Frank Lampard, seizing on a chance created by the equally hard-working Gianfranco Zola, on the stroke of half-time, put the English club level on aggregate.
Suddenly hope sprang eternal and Chelsea began the second half in much more lively fashion only to be undone again by some sloppy defending after 59 minutes. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink failed to clear a corner properly and Toni Kuivasto headed the ball on for Nevland to head in the first of his two goals.
Terry was villain-turned-hero, it seemed, when three minutes later he flung himself at a cross from Graeme Le Saux to head in at the far post. That role, however, was destined for someone else and Nevland claimed it when he sped between two Chelsea defenders to latch on to a cross from Trygve Nygaard and finish with great composure.