Paris Saint Germain flexed their Champions League credentials with a big victory over Chelsea in their quarterfinal first leg, while Real Madrid showed Borussia Dortmund a thing or two about finishing, with it gaining a measure of revenge for their exit in last season's tournament.
Chelsea, who started with no recognised striker with Andre Schurrle filling the floating centre-forward slot, looked to be in control after Eden Hazard scored from the penalty spot to cancel out Ezequiel Lavezzi's opener, but an own goal from David Luiz and a late ripper from Javier Pastore put Jose Mourinho's hopes of being the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs in serious jeopardy.
PSG got off to a rollicking start, putting the Chelsea defence under pressure, and that pressure paid off in the fourth minute when the home side, roared on by a noisy crowd, opened the scoring.
A cross from the left by Blaise Matuidi was met by the head of John Terry, who was probably still feeling the effects of that own goal against Crystal Palace, with the clearance only falling kindly to Lavezzi. The Argentine forward, who has hurt Chelsea in the past in the shirt of Napoli, took one touch to control the ball, before firing home a tremendous half-volley into the roof of the net from 11 yards.
Chelsea did not let the early goal bother them, though, pressing PSG high up the pitch and forcing the home side to give away the ball cheaply time and again. The away team kept growing into the game and deservedly found themselves level a little before the half hour mark.
Willian played in a ball to Oscar from the right, with the Brazilian taking a touch to try and go past his compatriot Thiago Silva, who, normally so composed, decided to take an unnecessary lunge and concede a penalty.
Hazard stepped up and nonchalant as ever slotted the ball in, as Chelsea started to take control of the first half. PSG, who had to overcome a forgettable performance from their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Edinson Cavani continued to look uncomfortable playing down the right, continued to be rattled by the pressing game, while Hazard was a little unlucky not to complete a double after hitting the post off a ridiculously tight angle.
The two teams went into halftime 1-1, and PSG, knowing they needed to do more, started the second period with a lot more intent. Lavezzi headed over early in the second 45, before the forward created his team's second goal two minutes past the hour mark.
Lavezzi swung in a terrific freekick, which Luiz, unfortunately, struck into his own net, leaving Chelsea on the back foot. The final body blow fell in the fourth minute of stoppage time, with Pastore, leaving three Chelsea defenders in his wake, before smashing home a wonderful effort past the despairing Petr Cech.
At the Bernabeu, Real Madrid put one foot in the semifinals of the Champions League after a regulation 3-0 win over beleaguered and injury-ravaged Borussia Dortmund.
Gareth Bale opened the scoring for Real in just the third minute, taking a pass from Dani Carvajal, before toe-poking the ball under Roman Weidenfeller, who was kept busy throughout the night, having to make some brilliant saves.
Dortmund, looking like a shadow of last season's enterprising team, which went all the way to the final, beating Real in the semifinals, conceded a second in the 27th minute with Isco, making full use of a rare start, slotting home perfectly into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The first leg was put to bed by Cristiano Ronaldo in the 57th minute, jinking past Weidenfeller before stroking the ball into an empty net as the Portuguese superstar tied the mark for the highest goals in a Champions League season with 14.