Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain both gained convincing victories on Wednesday in their respective Champions League quarter-final first leg matches to give themselves the upper hand ahead of next week's second legs.
Real, who have reached the semi-finals in the past three seasons, avenged in part last season's semi-finals defeat to Borussia Dortmund by beating the German side 3-0 while PSG -- who reached the quarter-finals last term -- saw off 2012 winners Chelsea 3-1.
It was, however, a tale of contrasting fortunes for Real and PSG's leading scorers.
Real's world footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo scored their third to equal Barcelona's Lionel Messi (2011/12) and Brazilian Jose Altafini's 'Mazzola', in 1962/63, record haul of 14 goals in a season in the the European Cup/Champions League and on his 100th appearance in the competition proper to boot.
For PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, though, it was a night to forget on a personal level as he failed to score and then pulled up clutching his right hamstring shortly after the hour mark.
Ronaldo too had to go off early, with pain in a knee -- unlike last Saturday where he was booed by the home crowd for not passing to a team-mate, this time it was to a standing ovation.
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti didn't think it was too serious but Laurent Blanc, who replaced him at PSG this season, said he feared Ibrahimovic's injury could take a while to heal.
Real got off to a dream start as Gareth Bale scored in the third minute for his fifth in the competition this season.
Real added to their lead later in the first-half. Isco, who had come in for the sick Angel di Maria, scoring with a neatly taken shot.
Ronaldo knocked in the third in the 57th minute taking him to 64 in total for the competition, just seven off record holder and former Real darling Raul -- Messi lies second with 67.
Ancelotti, who in the musical chairs that is football management replaced Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at Real this season, said his side must repeat this performance in the second leg.
"We know Dortmund will do everything to come back, that is normal.
"We need to be careful and play our own game. If we play in the same way we did tonight then we will reach the semi-finals."
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp dismissed the absences of so many key players as the reason for the defeat.
"In the second-half we had so many chances and we didn't take one of them, but I know this team can do so much better and that is what we have to think about."
PSG too got off to a flying start with the outstanding Ezequiel Lavezzi scoring in the fourth minute with a divine half volley.
However, Chelsea levelled when Eden Hazard stroked home a penalty on the ground where three years ago he secured the Ligue 1 title with Lille.
The hosts, though, restored their one goal lead in the 61st minute as a freekick by Lavezzi caused havoc in the Chelsea defence and David Luiz put the ball into his own net.
Mourinho threw on Frank Lampard for his 100th Champions League appearance but his only real contribution was to be one of the two players fooled by Javier Pastore's trickery in time added on that saw the Argentinian give the hosts their third goal.
Blanc was delighted with the performance and said the third goal could prove the deciding factor.
"The third goal changes things, but what I will take from this game more than anything is that our second half was excellent," said Blanc.
"We know the match at Stamford Bridge will be complicated, regardless of the result here," he added.
Mourinho, who has also seen his side's Premier League title challenge falter of late, was seething about the third goal but did not give up hope of turning it around.
"We just couldn't take the half-chances we created and on top of that we made defensive mistakes, individual defensive mistakes.
"We paid the price, and the third goal, it was a joke. It was not a goal it was a joke."