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Pepe slams Madrid critics after Clasico triumph

Real Madrid defender Pepe rounded on the club’s detractors after Zinedine Zidane’s side stunned La Liga leaders Barcelona with a 2-1 Clasico win at Camp Nou.

Karim Benzema equalised in the 62nd minute after Gerard Pique headed Barcelona into a second-half lead.

The impressive Gareth Bale had a goal disallowed for the visitors, who snatched victory through Cristiano Ronaldo five minutes from time in the aftermath of a red card for their captain Sergio Ramos.

Pepe turned in a typically confrontational performance alongside Ramos at the heart of the Madrid defence and was delighted to hand Barca a first defeat in 40 matches across all competitions.

“They said we were supposed to [get beaten] by four or five,” the Portugal international told Marca.

“With 10 players we have shown sacrifice [for what] seemed impossible.

“The victory is for the fans. Many things have been said – that we have no quality and Cristiano would not make his mark. It was all unfair.”

Pepe hopes Clasico glory will spur Madrid to victory in their forthcoming Champions League quarter-final against Wolfsburg, while he has not given up hope of hauling in the seven-point deficit to Barca with seven matches remaining in La Liga.

“We hope to get lucky in the Champions League and reach the final,” he added. “Humbly, La Liga is possible.”

Sat 2 Apr, 2016
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