Manchester City eased to a 3-0 victory over an under-strength Villarreal side at El Madrigal.
City, whose performances in Europe had not matched the standard of their Premier League form this season, claimed back-to-back wins to move up to second in Group A after becoming the first English team to win away to the Yellow Submarine.
Yaya Toure, who had not scored since the FA Cup final in May, chipped up with another timely goal to fire City ahead on the half-hour mark before sealing the win with 20 minutes remaining after Mario Balotelli scored from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.
City had failed to score in their last three away games in Europe, but Toure ended that drought after half an hour, collecting the ball from the ever-lively David Silva before slotting the ball past Diego Lopez.
Balotelli marked his first Champions League appearance for City with a goal, dusting himself off to score from the spot after he was adjudged to have been fouled in the penalty area by Mateo Musacchio.
Villarreal looked well beaten in the second half, and only a deflected effort from Borja Valero troubled City keeper Joe Hart. Toure sealed an impressive away victory after a slick City move down the left, Samir Nasri finding Balotelli and the striker then releasing Toure, who showed the poise of a striker to dodge a defender and stroke the ball past Lopez.
There was high drama in Group A's other game as a Mario Gomez hat-trick proved just enough to see Bayern Munich to a narrow 3-2 victory over Napoli at the Allianz Arena.
Gomez had seemingly put the hosts in complete control after scoring three times in the first 42 minutes, but defender Federico Fernandez made it 3-1 just before the break. Napoli's chance looked to have gone when Juan Zaniga was shown a second yellow card in the 70th minute, but Holger Badstuber was dismissed for the hosts seven minutes later. Fernandez then pulled another goal back in the 79th minute, but the visitors could not find an equaliser.
Cristiano Ronaldo took the glory as Real Madrid won 2-0 at Lyon. Ronaldo fired Madrid into the lead with an excellent free-kick in the first half before winning and converting a penalty in the 69th minute to remove any doubts over the destination of the points.
Jose Mourinho's side are now through to the knockout stages with two games to spare, having won all four of their games so far, and Ajax are behind them in second place in Group D after thrashing Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 in Amsterdam.
It was a third successive four-goal haul for the Dutch giants, as Gregory Van Der Wiel, Miralem Sulejmani, Siem De Jong, Nicolas Lodeiro all helped themselves to goals to condemn Dinamo to a fourth straight defeat in this season's Champions League.
In Group C, Manchester United made hard work of Romanian minnows Otelul Galati at Old Trafford, but emerged from the encounter with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney.
Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen were both given a rare start but the night ended early for the latter when he was withdrawn injured after just ten minutes. Valencia opened the scoring for United from a Phil Jones cross and Sir Alex Ferguson's side squandered numerous chances before a late deflected Rooney shot put the result beyond doubt.
The 2-0 win left United top of the group afterFC Basel grabbed another valuable away point, this time with a 1-1 draw against Benfica.
The Swiss champions had already drawn at Old Trafford this season and Benjamin Huggel ensured they also left the Stadium of Light with a share of the spoils - his right-foot finish equalising Rodrigo's opener.
Inter Milan emerged from their domestic doldrums to move a step closer to the Champions League knockout stages with a tight 2-1 win against French champions Lille.
Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Juventus was Inter's fifth loss in nine league games and left them one place above the Serie A relegation zone but the Nerazzurri, who won 1-0 at Lille two weeks ago, are top of Group B and strengthened their grip through Walter Samuel's header and Diego Milito's second-half strike before Vinicius De Melo pulled a late goal back for Lille.
Trabzonspor and CSKA Moscow shared a goalless draw to leave the two sides fighting it out for second place behind Inter. The Russian side ended the game with ten men after Seydou Doumbia was sent off with a little over 15 minutes remaining, but the hosts could not make the extra man count as both sides came close in a frantic finish.
Trabzonspor were indebted to goalkeeper Tolga Zengin, who made a number of excellent saves, but the result leaves both sides four points behind Inter.