Celtic were denied a famous point against Barcelona by a stoppage-time winner, on a night when Manchester United had to come from behind to beat Braga and Chelsea suffered defeat.
It was a dramatic night across Europe in the UEFA Champions League and an evening of mixed emotions for the three British sides.
Elsewhere, Juventus had to settle for a draw, while there were wins for Valencia and Bayern Munich in Group F.
But the big story of the night came in Group G, where Celtic supporters may have travelled to Barcelona with a feeling of trepidation but could leave with a sense of enormous pride even after being beaten 2-1.
The opening 18 minutes were predictable enough as Barcelona laid siege to the Celtic goal, but they could find no way through and the Camp Nou crowd were then stunned into silence on 18 minutes when Charlie Mulgrew delivered a teasing free-kick which was met by Georgios Samaras before Javier Mascherano got the final touch past his own goalkeeper.
Spirited defending ensured that an equaliser did not arrive until just before the interval, and Barca had to be at their best to fashion the goal as a lightning-fast exchange of passes in a crowded area ended with Andres Iniesta lashing a shot into the bottom corner.
The Barcelona onslaught continued in the second period, even if their commitment to attacking football did occasionally leave Celtic in threatening positions on the counter-attack.
Fraser Forster looked set to emerge as the hero after pulling off a couple of stupendous saves to deny Lionel Messi, and even when he was beaten the post kept out David Villa's shot, but just before the final whistle Adriano's curling ball clipped the foot of Jordi Alba and crept in.
While Barcelona now look to be coasting into the next round, Celtic at least remain second as their hopes of qualifying had already been boosted by the result of the earlier kick-off in Russia, where Spartak Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 to pick up their first points of the campaign.
Rafael Carioca's neat finish for Spartak after just three minutes was cancelled out by a Rodrigo Lima header, but Jardel's own goal restored the home side's advantage and a brave second-half rearguard secured victory.
Reigning champions Chelsea are also second in their group after slipping to a 2-1 defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.
John Terry, captaining Chelsea for the first time since beginning a domestic four-match ban for being found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, could not have seen his team make a worse start.
Shakhtar took the lead inside three minutes as the Blues failed to get the ball clear from a throw-in and Alex Teixeira guided a shot past Petr Cech.
Cech pulled off a few decent saves to keep Shakhtar at bay for the remainder of the first half but Chelsea could not find the sort of swashbuckling style that has illuminated the Premier League this season and they fell 2-0 behind in the 52nd minute when Eden Hazard was dispossessed and a fast break resulted in Fernandinho sweeping home a low finish.
Oscar pulled a goal back for Chelsea late on but there was not enough time to force an equaliser, and the only consolation was Juventus' failure to beat Nordsjaelland.
Mikkel Beckmann scored Nordsjaelland's first-ever Champions League goal with a free-kick that proved too good for Gianluigi Buffon early in the second half, and it was left to substitute Mirko Vucinic to salvage a 1-1 draw for Juve.
Manchester United made it maximum points from their opening three Group H games thanks to a 3-2 win over Braga, although they were given a huge fright.
If Sir Alex Ferguson has been demanding that his players start games faster then the message has clearly not got through yet, as they were caught cold after just two minutes when Alan beat Alexander Buttner in the air to head home Hugo Viana's cross.
Ferguson had opted to play Michael Carrick in defence and it was a gamble that backfired when the makeshift centre-back allowed the skilful Eder to wriggle past him and supply Alan with the opportunity to make it 2-0 to Braga in the 20th minute.
Javier Hernandez quickly reduced United's arrears with a close-range header after Shinji Kagawa had built on a fine piece of skill by Robin van Persie to cross the ball to the back post.
Jonny Evans poked in an equaliser from Van Persie's corner and Hernandez nodded in his second of the night from Tom Cleverley's delightful cross on 75 minutes to clinch victory.
Galatasaray kept their hopes alive as they drew 1-1 with CFR Cluj to pick up a first point in the group.
Dany Nounkeu's own goal gave CFR Cluj an early lead but the Romanians were then reduced to ten men when Matias Aguirregaray was sent off.
Felipe Melo missed the chance to equalise before half-time as his penalty was saved by Mario Felgueiras, but Burak Yilmaz did find the target after the interval.
A three-way tussle for qualification is developing in Group F after Bayern Munich and Valencia won to join BATE Borisov on six points.
Lille look a long way adrift at the bottom after losing 1-0 to last season's runners-up Bayern, with Thomas Muller grabbing the crucial goal from the penalty spot midway through the first half after a marauding Philipp Lahm had been brought down by Lucas Digne.
A Roberto Soldado hat-trick inspired Valencia to an impressive 3-0 victory away to BATE.
Soldado's first was a penalty on the stroke of half-time after he had been fouled by Marko Simic, and a magnificent volley from the same player made it 2-0 just before the hour mark.
He converted a Tino Costa cross to complete his treble and leave the group wide open.