TARRAGONA, May 27 (Primera Liga) - Fernando Torres scored both goals as Atletico Madrid strengthened their bid for a UEFA Cup spot by beating relegated Gimnastic Tarragona.
The game had been billed as Gimnastic's last chance to save themselves from the drop, but Athletic Bilbao's win over Mallorca earlier in the day consigned Gimnastic to the Segunda Division.
Atletico captain Torres struck after only 12 minutes and scored a penalty 10 minutes into the second-half to move them back above Villareal and Real Zaragoza into fifth.
Zaragoza were due to face Sevilla later on, but regardless of the result, Atletico regained their place in the UEFA Cup spots.
With Gimnastic down, there was a subdued atmosphere in the Nou Estadi upon kick-off.
In the build up to the game Atletico coach Javier Aguirre demanded a quick start from his side as they looked to bounce back from their humilating 6-0 defeat at the hands of Barcelona last weekend.
And he certainly got that as his side came flying out of the blocks in search of the lead.
However, it was the home side that nearly went in front after eight minutes when Martin Ruben Castro seized on a defensive mix-up in the area, only to poke his shot straight at Leo Franco.
They were made to pay for that miss in the 12th minute as Torres linked up well with Maxi Rodriguez and cooly clipped the ball past Chueca Ruben Perez.
Gimnastic were struggling to get into the game and Torres came close to extending Atletico's lead with an effort that went narrowly wide.
As the half wore on, the home side improved with Javier Portillo firing straight at Franco with a powerful 25-yard effort.
Gimnastic coach Paco Flores brought Ariza Makukula on for Ruben Castro at half-time in a bid to get back into the game and the change nearly paid dividends seconds after the restart.
Antonio Marco charged down the left and put in a fine cross to the near post, but Makukula placed his point-blank header straight at Franco.
Just as the home side were starting to look like getting back into the game, the dangerous Rodriguez got in front of Jose Calvo, who bundled him over in the area with 52 minutes gone.
Torres duly buried the penalty past Perez to score his 14th goal of the season.
The goal all-but killed off any hopes of a Gimnastic comeback and only served to subdue the atmosphere amongst the home fans even more.
The home side struggled to create any real openings and looked all intense and purposes like a side who will be playing in the second-tier next season.
With the effervescent Torres continuing to drive them forward, Atletico looked as if they may grab a third goal.
Ironically enough their best chance came after Torres was withdrawn with a few minutes left, however his replacement Sergio Aguero fired wide after rounding Perez.
Seconds later Makikula broke into the right side of the area, but he fired in a poor effort which failed to trouble Franco.
With the Nou Estadi virtually empty, Makikula compounded Gimnastic's misery by getting sent off for kicking out at Fernandez Gabi.