Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to leave Paris Saint-Germain on course for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after their 4-0 win at ten-man Bayer Leverkusen in Tuesday's last 16, first-leg clash.
Leverkusen, second only to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, suffered their third straight home defeat as Laurent Blanc's PSG were rarely troubled at the BayArena with Ibrahimovic the architect of the victory with two goals in three first-half minutes.
Left winger Blaise Matuidi put PSG ahead with barely two minutes gone before Ibrahimovic netted a penalty, then added a second when he unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot to make it 3-0 at the break.
Replacement Yohan Cabaye then added PSG's fourth just before the final whistle.
It meant 32-year-old Ibrahimovic replaced Cristiano Ronaldo as the competition's top-scorer with ten goals in six Champions League games this season after the Swedish star also netted four in the 5-0 rout of RSC Anderlecht in Belgium last October.
Bayer were reduced to ten men when Ibrahimovic's marker Emir Spahic was sent off for a second yellow, and the subsequent red, for the final half an hour.
Sami Hyypia-coached Leverkusen now face an unenviable task to try and salvage something from the return leg in Paris on 12 March.
The French Ligue 1 leaders took an almost immediate lead when Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes lost possession in midfield, Matuidi fed Ibrahimovic out the flank and the Swedish striker's pass found Marco Verratti in space.
The Italian right winger put a superbly timed ball in behind the Leverkusen defence which Matuidi slotted home.
It could have 2-0 after ten minutes as Ibrahimovic's shot cannoned off Roberto Hilbert's torso, with the right-back the last defence with the hosts' back four in disarray.
With just over 60 percent possession, it seemed only a matter of time before PSG added a second and Ibrahimovic struck with two goals in three minutes.
The first came when referee Viktor Kassai spotted Spahic pulling down Ibrahimovic in the area, booked the defender and awarded the spot-kick, despite furious protests from the Bayer defence.
Ibrahimovic slotted the penalty on 39 minutes and then gave the guests a commanding lead with a fantastic shot from just outside the area.
Matuidi found Ibrahimovic on the edge of the box and the Swedish star rifled a spectacular first time shot into the top right corner.
Hyypia reacted at half-time by taking off left winger Son Heung-Min for 17-year-old Julian Brandt and swapping captain Rolfes for Stefan Reinartz.
The hosts fortunes did not improve as Spahic, who had already been shown a yellow for the foul which led to Ibrahimovic's penalty, was booked again for holding back right-wing Lucas and sent off on 59 minutes.
Matuidi's replacement Cabaye then added the fourth on 88 minutes with PSG players lining up to score as the Leverkusen defence once again breached.
Barça best City
Knockout-phase debutants City matched Barcelona in the first half at the Etihad Stadium, but the game changed early in the second period when Martin Demichelis was sent off following a last-man foul on Messi.
The Argentinian international scored from the ensuing penalty in the 54th minute, taking his tally of goals in this season's competition to seven.
Despite being a man down, City continued to threaten, but in the final minute Alves ran through to score, leaving Barcelona firmly in the driving seat ahead of the return leg on March 12.
Barça goalkeeper Valdes was then given a moment of discomfort when Vincent Kompany got his head to a free-kick from Silva, sparking a goalmouth scramble that was cut short when Negredo was penalised for an infringement.
Negredo hit a snapshot straight at Valdes, before Barça came to life, with Messi firing over from the edge of the box and Xavi extending City goalkeeper Joe Hart with a rasping 25-yard drive.
The offence occurred right on the edge of the box, but referee Jonas Eriksson awarded a penalty and after Demichelis had trudged off, Messi planted the spot-kick past Hart.
Alves teed up Xavi to shoot over and then drilled narrowly wide after a one-two with Alexis Sanchez as Barca threatened to twist the knife, while Neymar's introduction seemed to presage further bad news for City.
Instead, the hosts continued to push, with Valdes plunging to his right to repel a volley from Silva in the 77th minute.
Barça had the final say, however, with Alves gathering a pass from Neymar and tucking the ball between Hart's legs in the final minute to further tighten the Catalans' grip on the tie.