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Pepe demands Portugal improvement

Pepe says Portugal must learn from their mistakes after fighting back from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Israel in World Cup qualifying.

Bruno Alves opened the scoring for Portugal in Tel Aviv, before goals from Tomer Hemed, Eden Ben Basat and Rami Gershon put the home side 3-1 ahead on Friday.

Helder Postiga pulled one back on 72 minutes, before Fabio Coentrao saved the day for the visitors when he equalised three minutes into injury time.

The result leaves Portugal third in Group F, level on points with Israel and four points back from leaders Russia, who had their match away to Northern Ireland called off due to severe weather in Belfast.

Paulo Bento’s men will now be desperate for maximum points away to Azerbaijan on Tuesday as they look to revive their campaign.

“The problem was not just the defensive aspect,” Pepe told abola.pt.

“We left spaces between the middle and the wings, but we must learn from mistakes so that will not happen in the next game.

“We wanted to win, we are sad, we had the conditions (to win). The most important thing is that we are in the competition to fight.”

While Portugal face an uphill battle to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year, Real Madrid man Pepe said the squad are determined not to miss out on the FIFA showcase event.

“I am part of the Portuguese national team and want to be at the World Cup,” he said.

“We will do everything to be there – now we must learn from mistakes.”

Fri 22 March, 2013
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