Four-time winners Barcelona and French champions Paris Saint-Germain took huge strides towards the Champions League last eight on Tuesday as they both won away from home in their last-16, first-leg ties.
Barcelona prevailed 2-0 over English side Manchester City but scoring both their goals, a penalty by Lionel Messi and a late goal by Dani Alves, only after Argentinian defender Martin Demichelis was sent off eight minutes into the second half.
PSG, who were eliminated by Barcelona in the quarter-finals last season, thumped German outfit Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 in Germany but, unlike Barcelona, took the match by the scruff of the neck early on and led 3-0 at half-time with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring two of them.
PSG untroubled in Germany
While that match remained tight until the end, the other game was over as a contest by half-time as PSG overwhelmed a side that lost 10-2 on aggregate to Barcelona the last time they appeared in this stage of the competition two years ago.
Blaise Matuidi scored the opener and Ibrahimovic the other two, the second of those a scorching effort from outside the box.
The hosts' chances of at least getting a goal back decreased markedly when Bosnian international defender Emir Spahic – who had been responsible for conceding the penalty that Ibrahimovic scored for his first goal – was sent off for a second bookable offence.
PSG grabbed a fourth late in the game through recent signing Yohan Cabaye.
"We had a good start and when you are one goal up, it's easier, it gives you space," said Ibrahimovic.
"We had a good first half and continued to play our game after the break, when they played with one less, so it was a good day."
PSG coach Laurent Blanc, who is bidding to bring France only their second ever win in the competition with Marseille having won it in 1993, was delighted with the performance.
"I think we rediscovered the PSG of the first part of the season," said the former France national coach.
"They were hungry to build moves and to be clinical, things that we slightly lost our way in.
"Here we were all those things while maintaining our philosophy of how to play.
"We will savour this then get ourselves ready for the second leg in Paris in three weeks, which we have to win."