Manchester United outclassed Schalke 04 in a one-sided Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday, with goals from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney securing a 2-0 win for the English side.
United's assured victory would have been far more emphatic but for a brilliant first-half display from Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
The German keeper performed heroics to keep the game scoreless going into the break before two goals in two minutes settled matters.
Giggs broke the deadlock after 67 minutes from a brilliant Rooney pass and the England international turned scorer almost immediately, firing in from a similar position.
"I thought if we kept creating chances one would go in," Giggs told Sky Sports.
"We created enough chances in the first half to be four or five up," he added.
The result leaves Schalke, playing in their first Champions League semi-final, facing a mighty task going into the second leg at Old Trafford next week, with the winner going through to play Barcelona or Real Madrid in the final at Wembley on May 28.
"We have to accept the fact that they were so much better," Schalke defender Christoph Metzelder said.
"Apart from the opening 15 minutes we did not get into this game at all. But we will give everything we have at Old Trafford," he added.
United took control of the game from the start, slicing through the Schalke backline at will with Rooney, Park Ji-sung and Javier Hernandez all missing early chances.
The Mexican should have scored in the 16th when Park sent him through but Neuer was at hand to save, as he was so often.
The keeper, who looks set to leave Schalke at the end of the season after refusing to extend his contract beyond 2012, made two more superb saves in the first half.
He palmed away a Giggs header in the 28th minute and denied the 37-year-old Welshman from point-blank range a little later.
With Schalke's defence in complete disarray, even Brazilian Fabio, picked to start as right back, had a crack at it, firing just over the bar.
Patrice Evra forced another Neuer save with a fine header early in the second half before United, chasing their fourth European Cup win, finally struck.
Rooney supplied the inspirational pass through the legs of Joel Matip and Giggs slotted in.
Rooney was then picked out by Hernandez two minutes later and fired home to seal the victory.