Battling Aberdeen were left languishing at the foot of Uefa Cup Group B after Atletico Madrid eased to victory.
Aberdeen were left in Atletico's shadow in Madrid
The star-studded home side made a whirlwind start and a Mariano Pernia drive that struck the post was the closest of three early chances.
Aberdeen weathered the storm until the stroke of half-time, when Michael Hart felled Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan scored from the penalty spot.
Simao Sabrosa's 61st minute free-kick went in off keeper Jamie Langfield.
It means the Dons must now hope that Panathinaikos can beat Lokomotiv Moscow and Atletico defeat Copenhagen in the next round of matches to keep the Scots' qualification hopes alive by the time they host the Danes in their final game.
There had been four changes in Aberdeen's illness-hit starting line-up.
Chris Clark, Sone Aluko, Barry Nicholson and Lee Mair dropped out the side, with Jackie McNamara, Richard Foster, Karim Touzani and Derek Young coming in.
Atletico coach Javier Aguirre made a host of changes to a side that had scored 11 goals in their last three home games.
Former Manchester United striker Forlan started alongside Aguero up front, while ex-Liverpool midfielder Luis Garcia also came in to emphasise the strength of the Spanish side's multi-million pound squad.
Garcia squandered a chance within the opening seconds with a heavy touch, Pernia's powerful effort from 25 yards struck the inside of the post and spun clear, then Touzani's last-ditch tackle denied Aguero.
But Aberdeen began to play themselves back into the game, with a couple of dangerous balls flashing across the Atletico penalty box.
And the big visiting support, many attracted to the city because of the 1983 Cup-Winners' Cup final victory over Real Madrid, began to dream of another famous win.
Sabrosa Simao's free-kick deflected into the Dons net
The visitors finally got an effort on target after 27 minutes, with goalkeeper Christian Abbiati grabbing Scott Severin's driven 25-yard free-kick at the second attempt.
But Atletico continued to dominate, Langfield getting a touch to a Garcia drive across the face of goal.
The Dons suffered a double injury blow when McNamara limped off to be replaced with Clark then James Smith decided he too could not carry on.
And no sooner had Jeffrey De Visscher come on as his replacement than Hart, who had started in an unfamiliar central defensive role, upended Aguero and Forlan sent Langfield the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Aguero failed to come out for the second half and his replacement, Simao, gave Atletico a two-goal cushion with 30 minutes remaining.
His curling free-kick over the defensive wall was touched on to the post by Langfield's fingertips but bounced over the line off the unlucky goalkeeper's back.
A De Visscher shot flew wide from 22 yards and Lee Miller missed the ball completely when just in front of goal as Aberdeen pressed forward.
Clark fired over from 20 yards, but there was to be no comeback for Jimmy Calderwood's side.
Atletico Madrid: Abbiati, Antonio Lopez, Pernia, Motta, Cleber Santana, Forlan (Mista 70), Luis Garcia, Aguero (Simao 46), Maxi (Maniche 71), Fabiano Eller, Pablo.
Subs Not Used: Falcon, Raul Garcia, Ze Castro, Reyes.
Goals: Forlan 45 pen, Simao 61.
Aberdeen: Langfield, Hart, Diamond, McNamara (Clark 34), Byrne, Severin (Maguire 76), Jamie Smith (De Visscher 44), Foster, Touzani, Miller, Young.
Subs Not Used: Nicholson, Soutar, Considine, Aluko.
Booked: Hart, Langfield.
Ref: Ivan Bebek (Croatia)