For two years Manchester City could not figure a way out of the group stages in the Champions League. Those two years of hurt ended in emphatic style as the English Premier League side sealed passage into the last-16 of Europe's elite competition following a comfortable 5-2 victory over CSKA Moscow.
Defending champions Bayern Munich joined City in the last 16, with Manchester United, PSG and Real Madrid virtually there after their respective draws.
At the Etihad, it was City's striker's that did all the talking, with Sergio Aguero, in terrific form this season, and Alvaro Negredo providing all the five goals.
City were ahead in just the third minute against the side they beat 2-1 in the reverse fixture a fortnight back. David Silva was brought down by former Manchester United man Zoran Tosic, with Aguero duly dispatching the penalty.
The Argentine striker then added his and City's second in the 20th minute, after a period of play where both sides had chances, taking a pass from Samir Nasri, before turning past Aleksei Berezutski brilliantly before slotting past CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Aguero turned provider for the third goal, finding a perfect pass from the right for Negredo, who had started the move, to tap-in on the half hour.
Costel Pantilimon, yet again preferred to Joe Hart in goal as Manuel Pellegrini stuck with the same XI that won 7-0 against Norwich, was beaten on the stroke of halftime with Pontus Wernbloom finding the delightful through ball for Seydou Doumbia to sweep home.
However, just six minutes into the second half, City had their three-goal lead restored when a nice flick from Samir Nasri allowed Negredo the simple task of tapping in yet again.
It was 4-2 courtesy Doumbia's penalty in the 72nd minute before Negedo completed his hat-trick in stoppage time to send City through to the knockout stages.
In Plzen, Bayern Munich rode on a winner from Mario Mandzukic on 65 minutes to complete a 1-0 victory for a ninth consecutive Champions League win in a row, equalling Barcelona's record set in 2002/03.
The victory keeps Bayern three points clear of City, with Pellegrini believing the Citizens are capable of overhauling the defending champs for first place.
"[Qualification] is the first step but it is an important one, as the club have not qualified in the last two years," Pellegrini said. "The first target was to reach the last 16. Tonight we did that.
"Now we play our last two games thinking about coming first in the group, which is important."
In Spain, Real Sociedad picked up their first point of the Champions League this season, but that was largely thanks to some profligacy in front of goal from Manchester United, with Robin Van Persie missing a penalty and Javier Hernandez failing to hit the back of the net from close range.
The point, however, keeps United top of Group A on eight points from four games, with Bayer Leverkusen a point behind them after their own goalless draw with Shakhtar Donetsk, who are a further point adrift with six.
The fight for second place in Group B got interesting following Real Madrid's 2-2 draw at Juventus and FC Copenhagen's surprise 1-0 victory against Galatasaray.
Arturo Vidal gave Juventus the lead in Turin via the penalty spot just before halftime, only for Real's two superstars - Cristiano Ronaldo, his eighth goal in just four Champions League games, and Gareth Bale -- to pull their side into the lead with two quickfire goals in the second half.
Fernando Llorente, though, equalised for the Italian champions to at least ensure a point and take them to three from four matches. Copenhagen joined Galatasaray on four points with a victory over the Turkish side - Daniel Braaten scoring the all-important winner early in the sixth minute.
Group C saw Paris Saint-Germain failed to seal their progress with a win, needing a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal to draw Anderlecht, a side the French champions thumped 5-0 away from home, 1-1.
"We are disappointed because we had prepared to win the game," PSG manager Laurent Blanc said. "We had warned the players that they should not think about the first game [a 5-0 win on matchday three] but focus on our target, which was to go through with three more points. We failed to do so. We are obviously disappointed."
Olympiakos took control of second place with a 1-0 result over Benfica, and the Greek side are now just three points behind PSG on seven from four games.
Results: Group A: Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United; Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen. Group B: Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid; Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray. Group C: PSG 1-1 Anderlecht; Olympiakos 1-0 Benfica. Group D: Viktoria Plzen 0-1 Bayern Munich; Manchester City 5-2 CSKA Moscow.