Debuts are supposed to be memories to treasure for young players, but Maarten Vandevoordt's historic moment quickly turned into his worst nightmare.
The Genk teenager became the youngest goalkeeper in Champions League history after starting against Napoli in what turned out to be a resounding 4-0 loss in their final group stage game.
Vandevoordt made his first start of the First Division A season and produced a man-of-the-match display in Saturday's 2-1 win at Cercle Brugge, adding to a pair of Belgian Cup appearances.
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The Belgium youth international, who is 17 years and 287 days old, retained his place ahead of Gaetan Coucke for the trip to Stadio San Paolo.
Unfortunately for Vandevoordt, his European debut was one he’ll want to forget after presenting the Italians with an absolute gift of an opening goal.
To be fair, the youngster was done no favours after a back pass from a teammate put him under pressure inside his own six yard box.
With two Napoli attackers bearing down on him, Vandevoordt tried to evade a tackle with an attempted Cruyff turn that went horribly wrong.
Instead of turning out of trouble, the keeper left the ball behind in an ambarrassing gaffe that saw Arkadiusz Milik graciously accept the opportunity to smash the ball into the unguarded goal.
Viewers couldn't help but feel sorry for the youngster after his brutal baptism of fire, which also included a 'Panenka' penalty from Napoli straight down the middle of his goal.
That Genk goalkeeper really had a stinker.— Ehsan 🇨🇦 🇮🇷 (@eh3ano9) December 10, 2019
Genk has a 17 year old goalkeeper playing against Napoli? That seems harsh.— Alan Jacobson (@MrTuktoyaktuk) December 10, 2019
Can’t believe the Genk goalkeeper (who is on debut at 17) tried to do a cruyff turn in the 6 yard box with 2 Napoli players closing in on him and then he messes it up and napoli score...— connor 🇮🇪 (@hctelfih) December 10, 2019
Genk goalkeeper having a terrible night— PrimeOGsports 🅧 (@PrimeOGsports) December 10, 2019
Bitter for the Genk goalkeeper. Tried to play with the ball and lost it in the 6-yard box. It's probably better this way for the 17-year-old though.— Lilliputian Leprechaun (@majrfootballfan) December 10, 2019
#NapoliGenk Genk literally finished the professional life of their goalkeeper at age 17.— Atın oğlu Mustafa Bey (@atinoglumustafa) December 10, 2019
The incident was a cruel dampener on Vandevoordt's Champions League milestone, which saw him break fellow Belgian Mile Svilar's mark as the youngest goalkeeper in Champions League history.
Svilar represented Benfica against Manchester United in October 2017 aged 18 years and 52 days, claiming the record previously set by Iker Casillas.
Italians sack coach after sealing place in knockout stages
Despite the 4-0 win that saw Napoli join group winners Liverpool in the knockout stages, coach Carlo Ancelotti was sacked hours after the final whistle.
"Napoli has decided to relieve Carlo Ancelotti of his role as first team coach," the Italian side said in a statement.
Tuesday's win over Genk, which saw Napoli finish second in Group E, one point behind Liverpool, broke a nine-match winless run that came amid dressing room unrest and friction between the club, Ancelotti and the players.
Former AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso is the favourite to take over at Napoli, who finished second behind champions Juventus last season but are miles off the pace this year.
They sit seventh in the Italian top flight on 21 points, a whopping 17 points behind league leaders Inter Milan and more worryingly eight behind fourth-placed Cagliari, who hold the final spot for next season's Champions League.
On Monday Ancelotti told reporters that "a coach's suitcase is always ready" ahead of Tuesday's match, and as speculation ramped up over the 60-year-old's future at the southern club he ruled out stepping down after Tuesday's win.
The club has been in turmoil this season as club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis sank into a bitter row with his players following a series of disappointing results.