Manchester United and Manchester City will begin 2012 scrapping with the also-rans of European football after ignominious Champions League exits as Basel, Olympique Lyon, Napoli and CASK Moscow grabbed the last four knockout round spots on Wednesday.
Three-times winners and last year's runners-up United only needed a draw in Swiss club Basel's St. Jakob-Park stadium to progress from Group C but slithered to a 2-1 defeat.
So used to dining with the continents's aristocrats in the second half of the season, the English champions now face the prospect of the less salubrious and much maligned Europa League.
At least they will have City for company after the rampant Premier League leaders' first flirtation with the continent's blue riband tournament ended in failure despite a 2-0 victory at home to already qualified Bayern Munich.
That win which took them to 10 points from a daunting Group A proved in vain for arguably the world's richest club as Italian side Napoli grabbed second place with a 2-0 victory at Spanish whipping boys Villarreal who failed to register a single point.
Batefimbi Gomis scored a seven-minute hat-trick for Olympique Lyon, a new record for the Champions League, as his four goals helped the French club to a 7-1 victory over 10-man Dynamo Zagreb and second spot in Group D.
They ended on eight points along with Ajax but the Dutch side's 3-0 home defeat by group winners Real Madrid meant Lyon achieved the seven-goal swing in goal difference they required.
Russia's CSKA began the evening bottom of Group B but their 2-1 victory at already-qualified Inter Milan meant they rose to second after Lille and Trabzonspor played out a 0-0 draw in northern France when victory for either team would have put them into the first knockout round.
Basel enjoyed one of the greatest nights in their history as United failed to reach the knockout stage for only the third time in 17 attempts despite being in a comfortable-looking group.
"It's a competition I've never been in with United, it means a lot of Sunday games (in the Premier League), that's not ideal but that's our penalty for not qualifying tonight," United manager Alex Ferguson.
Gomis nets quickest hat-trick in CL
Bafetimbi Gomis netted the quickest hat-trick in the competition's history, seven minutes, helping Olympique Lyon reach the knockout phase for the ninth year in succession.
Gomis scored four in Lyon's stunning 7-1 Champions League win at Dinamo Zagreb, yet the France striker praised the team's collective performance as the seven-times French champions were still shaking their heads in disbelief. Lyon they leapfrogged Ajax Amsterdam into second place in Group D by virtue of a better goal difference.
"I'm not a hero," Gomis who had not found the back of the net since mid October, told reporters.
Ferguson slams Roy Keane after United limp out
A seething Sir Alex Ferguson lashed out at former captain Roy Keane after seeing his side consigned to a humiliating Champions League group-stage exit by Basel on Wednesday.
United's 2-1 defeat at St Jakob-Park meant they fell at the group phase for the first time in six years and prompted criticism from Keane, analysing the match for ITV, who said that United had "got what they deserved".
"I don't know why you bring up a TV critic," said Ferguson during a terse post-match press conference. "That's nothing to do with it. Roy had an opportunity to prove himself as a manager too. It's not an easy job,” he added.
Nothing murky about Dinamo-Lyon tie
A probe into Lyon's shock 7-1 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb has not revealed any irregularities, France's betting watchdog said on Thursday.