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Jan 26, 2012

Alves relieved to beat 'phenomenal' Real

Barcelona defender Dani Alves praised the efforts of Real Madrid after the clubs' Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg draw on Wednesday night, but took a swipe at a perceived lack of sportsmanship from Los Blancos.

Alves scored Barca's second goal as they raced into a 2-0 lead at Camp Nou, but Jose Mourinho's side - who squandered a number of opportunities before Pedro put the hosts ahead - battled back valiantly to claim a 2-2 draw thanks to strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

It was not enough for Real, as Barca advanced to the semi-finals with a 4-3 aggregate victory, but Alves was left impressed by the Primera Division leaders' performance.

"We knew we had to suffer until the end," Alves said. "This version of Real Madrid is the one that gives us the most problems, because they create a lot of pressure.

"They were phenomenal, closed down very well and made it very hard for us to attack. The most important thing is that we are through.

"We knew this tie would be decided in both matches, not just the first one. We are very happy to go through."

Despite being full of praise for their display, Alves did question whether Real Madrid are as fair on the pitch as Pep Guardiola's charges.

"A minor detail is that when the ball goes out, we return it and Madrid do not. This is the difference between the two teams," Alves said.

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