Just seven months after they were lauded for winning the Champions League - completing a unique treble in the process - Manchester United were being heavily criticised for their participation in the 2000 instalment of the Club World Cup.
The tournament, which pits the winners of cup competitions from each continent against each other, was scheduled for January and meant that United would have to postpone not only a handful of Premier League matches, but also withdraw themselves from that season's FA Cup.
Many accused the club of having devalued England's oldest competition, although there were those that defended the Red Devils, largely because they had been encouraged to travel to Brazil by the Football Association.
Nevertheless, Sir Alex Ferguson's side opened up their group campaign 14 years ago today against Mexican outfit Necaxa, who included future Southampton frontman Agustin Delgado within their starting lineup.
United had been tipped to comfortably overcome their opponents, but from the first whistle Los Rojiblancos looked bright and they broke the deadlock in the 15th minute courtesy of Cristian Montecinos, who curled an effort beyond the reach of Mark Bosnich.
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Then, the situation worsened for United three minutes before the interval as questions were raised over David Beckham's temperament once again. He went into a challenge with Jose Milian and ended up catching the midfielder on the hip with his studs, leaving referee Horacio Elizondo little option but to brandish a red card.
Necaxa looked to make their numerical advantage count after the restart and in the 56th minute they had the perfect chance. Mikael Silvestre was adjudged to have fouled Montecinos inside the area, but Alex Aguinaga saw his penalty saved by Bosnich.
That escape spurred United into life as they started to exert some pressure on the Mexicans and with 12 minutes remaining, they also won a penalty for a clear handball. Up stepped Dwight Yorke, but he was thwarted by Hugo Pineda.
Just four minutes later, though, the United centre-forward atoned for his error when he turned in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's mishit shot from close range to level up proceedings and ensure that the spoils would be shared.
MAN UNITED: Bosnich; G Neville, Irwin, Silvestre, Stam; Butt, Keane, Beckham, Giggs; Cole, Yorke
NECAXA: Pineda; Cabrera, Almaguer, Aguinaga, Perez; Delgado, Lopez, Vigna, Milian; Montecinos, Higareda