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By ESPN Staff

Pique, Arbeloa clash over penalty row

Spain team-mates Gerard Pique and Alvaro Arbeloa clashed on Twitter on Wednesday night after Real Madrid had beaten Elche with a 94th-minute penalty.

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With the signalled added time already played referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez saw a pull by Elche midfielder Carlos Sanchez on Pepe inside the area, and pointed to the spot for a penalty which Cristiano Ronaldo converted to win the game for Madrid.

Replays suggested that it had been Pepe who pulled Sanchez to the ground, and the decision should have gone the other way.

Barcelona defender Pique, obviously following the game on TV, immediately tweeted that he was watching a comedy on Canal Plus Liga, saying: “There’s always something good at this time of night.”

This provoked complaints from Madrid fans who remembered that Muniz Fernandez had ruled out what seemed a good goal by Sevilla defender Cala at the Camp Nou recently.

Asked about Pique’s tweet in his post-game press conference Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was short and to the point.

“He should think about playing and not talking,” Ancelotti said. “He is better on the pitch than off it.”

But Arbeloa decided to continue the debate on Twitter, by joking about Pique’s cultural pursuits. He said:“Very happy with the 3 points! I happy some people are changing the theatre for the cinema, that is always good!”.

Pepe himself came out from the visiting dressing-room to speak to Canal Plus and defend himself.

“You have the images,” he said. “At the corner I tried to attack the ball, the Elche player tried to block me. He tried to grab me and we both fell and the referee whistled for a penalty. I was looking for the ball, he had his back to the ball and in no minute did he look for it. He was always trying to block me.”

Pressed on whether he had looked to trick the ref, the Portugal international stuck to his story.

“It is difficult to say,” Pepe said. “He pulls at me and does not let me attack the ball. I tried to attack the ball, and he blocked me, and we both fell. I can say nothing else.”

‘The Rock’ Sanchez had a different view when he spoke to Canal Plus about the decision.

“It is a normal play that you always see at corners, there is always jostling, but in no moment do I push anyone over,” Sanchez said. “It is he who pulls me down. He tricked the referee very well. The ref fell in his trap and whistled for a penalty which for me is unjust. I impeded him, which is normal at a corner, but I never pulled him. The only thing I can reproach myself for is I lost my head [after decision made], which I do not usually do and was sent off.”

Sanchez and his team-mates were also annoyed with other Muniz Fernandez decisions which they felt favoured Madrid -- including Sergio Ramos escaping what looked a second booking during the first half, and the debatable decision to award a foul on Ronaldo for his first goal.

Elche captain Edu Albacar was even blunter when he faced the TV cameras directly after the game.

“Whoever watched the game can decide why Madrid has won, it was very clear,” Albacar said. “These are little details, like with Ramos, which is a sending off, the penalty I prefer not to talk about, these little details which if you give them to Madrid they beat you in the game. They have scored two goals in plays which did not exist. We are leaving with the feeling that they have robbed us, that we could have drawn against a very good team.”


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