Yet it was anything but as Lionel Messi's masterful first-half display had some purring once again about his status as the greatest footballer of all time.
Meanwhile, the second half witnessed another masterclass as England international Joe Hart somehow kept City in a lively encounter with save after save.
In between, the man that City usually rely on to dig them out of tight spots -- Sergio Aguero -- failed to score a late penalty that could have set up a tense finish.
In truth, the English champions deserved little over the two legs as Barcelona built upon their 2-1 victory in Manchester three weeks ago to go through as 3-1 aggregate winners.
The four-time champions may not have added the goals they deserved but they did reach the last eight for the eighth year in a row, a competition record.
'It was a game with a lot of chances where we could have finished it off a lot earlier,' Barca coach Luis Enrique told reporters.
'We got what we wanted which was to go through to the next round and I am happy with the display. We played well and this is a big boost for us at this stage of the season.'
The high-profile scrutiny of the relationship between coach Enrique and Argentine superstar Lionel Messi suddenly seems a distant memory with Barca still capable of repeating their wonder year of 2009.
On that occasion, they won the Champions League, La Liga and Spanish Super Cup under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, who was one of many enthralled spectators inside the Camp Nou.
Now in charge of fellow quarterfinalists Bayern Munich, Guardiola was out of his seat -- seemingly in celebration -- as Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring after 31 minutes when lifting the ball over Hart following a fine pass from Messi.
The diminutive Argentine flashed two free-kicks from distance onto the top of the goal netting while also displaying an array of twists, turns and embarrassing 'nutmegs' for his opponents.
It was enough to make former England international Gary Lineker, the top scorer at the 1986 World Cup, proclaim him the best footballer ever.
While that engrossing debate rumbles on, Messi set about trying to put the tie to bed but he met fierce resistance from Hart, who had kept City in the tie in the first leg when saving the Argentine's injury-time penalty.
England's number one made 10 saves, the most of any keeper in any Champions League this season, not only repelling Messi but also Neymar and Suarez, both of whom were also denied by the post in the first half.
To their credit, the Premier League side -- who were looking to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time -- improved after the break but found chances hard to come by.
Read: Mancini - 'City should win a title every year'
That was until Aguero won a penalty after going down under a challenge from first Gerard Pique, and then Argentina colleague Javier Mascherano, with just over ten minutes left.
But Dutch keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen dived right -- in both senses -- to beat away the spotkick and ultimately seal City's fate.
Barcelona can now prepare for Sunday's superclasico clash with Real Madrid, whom they lead in the La Liga table by one point.
'We've gone out to a magnificent side for the second time in two years,' Joe Hart told Sky Sports television. 'They will get a lot of plaudits but we had a big chance with the penalty.'
Questions will now be asked of coach Manuel Pellegrini, who had been expected to perform better in the Champions League after Roberto Mancini twice failed to get out of the group stages.
It means that for the second time in three years, no English team have made the last eight, where Barca have joined Madrid sides Real and Atletico, Bayern Munich, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto and Juventus.
The latter made it through after beating Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in Germany to secure a convincing 5-1 aggregate victory.
On a night when Manchester City had failed to score, it was not lost on many that their former striker Carlos Tevez netted twice and made one, converted by Alvaro Morata, for the Italians.
'It was a game to forget. It started badly and did not get any better,' Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, who led his side to the 2013 Champions League final, told reporters.
'We deserved to be eliminated.'
The draw for the quarterfinals will be held on Friday.
'We've gone out to a magnificent side for the second time in two years,' Joe Hart told Sky Sports television. 'They will get a lot of plaudits but we had a big chance with the penalty.' On a night when Manchester City had failed to score, it was not lost on many that their former striker Carlos Tevez netted twice and made one, converted by Alvaro Morata, for the Italians. Questions will now be asked of coach Manuel Pellegrini, who had been expected to perform better in the Champions League after Roberto Mancini twice failed to get out of the group stages.
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