Tottenham's Champions League dream looked all but over after they were torn apart by Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Former Arsenal man Emmanuel Adebayor took his tally against Spurs to nine in nine matches by heading home either side of half-time to rock the visitors, who had been reduced to 10 men after Peter Crouch's 15th minute dismissal for two bookings.
Harry Redknapp's miserable night was completed by second-half strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria, meaning that Tottenham will have to overhaul Real and stop Jose Mourinho's chances of picking up his third winner's medal.
Gareth Bale offered brief glimpses of hope for Spurs, but their numerical advantage, and a top-drawer performance from Real's attack, meant they never really looked like grabbing an away goal that would have given them a fighting chance of staying in the quarter-final tie.
Before kick off, the 3,000 plus Tottenham fans filed into the Bernabeu hoping that they would witness another epic night in what has been a remarkable debut season in the competition.
They were lifted by good news from the treatment room about Bale and William Gallas, who were both passed fit despite injury worries.
Tottenham were dealt a blow before a ball had been kicked though when Aaron Lennon was replaced by Jermaine Jenas in the starting XI after falling ill in the warm-up.
The visitors came out of the blocks at a blistering pace, with Ronaldo dancing past the away defence before powering a fierce shot wide.
Just four minutes and one second had elapsed before Real opened the scoring.
Adebayor got in front of Jenas and slipped a header past Gomes. Luka Modric was at the far post but he could not the ball squirming in and Adebayor had the opener against the bitter rivals of his former employers.
A late challenge from Crouch on Sergio Ramos deep in Real's half earned him a booking soon after.
Adebayor, buoyed by his early strike, constantly probed the Spurs back four, looking for a quick second while Mesut Ozil and Ronaldo looked dangerous.
Real's cause was helped when Crouch was given his marching orders 15 minutes in for a second booking after a late and needless challenge on Marcelo, again deep inside the hosts' half.
Rafael Van der Vaart was pushed up front, but he looked isolated and frustrated, earning a booking for petulantly kicking the ball away as Real prepared to take a free-kick.
It looked like only a matter of time before Real doubled their advantage as Tottenham came under intense pressure.
Ronaldo sneaked in behind the back four and fired a volley at Gomes and the brilliant Marcelo was giving Vedran Corluka a torrid time at right-back.
Bale was unleashed for the first time 28 minutes in, bursting down the left but he had three markers on him instantly.
Spurs had a golden chance to draw level just before the half hour when Bale found Van der Vaart in the box with a flat throw but he was denied by a block from Ricardo Carvalho.
Another glimmer of hope came Spurs' way a minute later when Michael Dawson released Bale down the flank but he drove into the side-netting.
Spurs started to look more comfortable on the ball, but Real still looked far more dangerous.
Marcelo fizzed a cross to the back post which Ramos headed just out of Adebayor's reach at the back post.
Modric threaded Bale down the left once more and he looked to have beaten Pepe but the Portuguese player slid in, clipping the Welshman's feet and earning a booking.
Real were adamant they should have had a penalty five minutes before the break when Dawson charged down a volley with his arms raised but the referee waved play on.
Redknapp injected some pace into his attack by replacing Van der Vaart with Jermain Defoe at half-time. The striker looked lively, but Real's ascendancy was shown when Adebayor grabbed his second after angling a header past Gomes from Marcelo's cross to make it 2-0.
Only a brilliant tip-over from Gomes prevented Adebayor from netting his third as the hosts laid siege to the away goal.
Gomes was made to pay for punching at a cross when the ball found its way to Di Maria unleashed a beautiful 20-yard curler past the Brazilian for the hosts' third after 72 minutes.
Defoe saw yellow for a high foot on Ramos before Adebayor received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Gonzalo Higuain with 15 minutes left.
Real's strength in depth was shown minutes later when £56million forward Kaka came on for Di Maria towards the end while Corluka limped off to be replaced by Sebastien Bassong.
Mourinho barked orders to his players, urging to find a fourth and Ramos came close to obliging with a drive that whistled just wide.
The killer blow came three minutes from the end though when Ronaldo got the goal his performance deserved, rifling a 20-yard volley past Gomes from Kaka's cross.