[EL CLASICO, ACT 4] What would the El Clasico be without another Barcelona win and another piece of stupidity from Real Madrid? Barca came back to win, 2-1, away on goals by defenders Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal series marred when Real Madrid’s Pepe stomped on Lionel Messi’s hand. Was it intentional or not? Those on the scene weren't immediately certain, but from his seat at home English star Wayne Rooney was sure, tweeting that Pepe was an "idiot" for his gesture.
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Midway through the second half, the Brazilian-born Pepe, now a Portuguese international, awkwardly ran into Messi and then stood on his hand as he walked toward the referee to protest the yellow card given to teammate Jose Maria Callejon for the foul that left Messi on the ground.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho feigned ignorance about the incident, but later conceded, “Obviously, if it is intentional, is it punishable."
But Mourinho's tactics to use Pepe in midfield with Xabi Alonso and Lassana Diarra signaled his fear that the Merengues would be overrun -- even at home -- unless they took a defensive approach midfield.
Real Madrid managed to keep an eye -- and foot -- on Messi, but it failed to mark Puyol and Abidal, both left free on the two goals -- Puyol for a header off Xavi's corner kick and Abidal for a free shot on goal after being put through brilliantly by Messi.