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Apr 22, 2009

Real Madrid's Pepe faces lengthy ban

Real Madrid defender Pepe faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after the referee reported him for kicking and punching two Getafe players in Tuesday night's Primera Liga match.

The Portuguese international was shown a straight red card for kicking midfielder Javier Casquero as he lay on the ground and in the ensuing melee he struck another Getafe player, Juan Albin, in the face.

"The home player (Pepe) kicked the fouled player and punched an opponent in the face," referee Carlos Delgado Ferreiro said in his report.

"The said player then directed the following phrase at the fourth official as he was leaving the pitch: 'You are all sons of whores'," the referee wrote.

Delgado added that Pepe also broke the rules by coming back on to the pitch to celebrate Gonzalo Higuain's winner with his teammates.

The centre-back immediately apologised for his actions following Los Blancos' 3-2 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Real coach Juande Ramos attempted to rationalise his player's actions.

"Pepe lost his cool but he did not mean to attack Casquero," Ramos explained. "He was more upset with himself and he only wanted to kick at the air in anger but at no moment did he intend to hurt his opponent.

"I am sure that he is very sorry and in these situations, we should forgive him for losing his temper because a lot was at stake."

With title-chasing Real being held 2-2 at home with three minutes to go, Pepe pushed Casquero in the back as he surged into the area, and gave away a penalty. The defender then kicked out and raked his studs over the midfielder's back and was sent off.

"People know this is not my style," Pepe said after the match. "They didn't give a penalty when (Real Madrid striker) Gonzalo Higuain was fouled, then later Casquero was free in the area, I arrived late, and gave away the penalty. It all happened very quickly and I lost my head. I can't explain it."

Defeated Getafe president Angel Torres was not too happy after the match and called for a more severe punishment for Pepe than just the standard three-game suspension that accompanies his sending off.

"Pepe must be banned for at least 10 games," Torres told Canal Plus. "You cannot kick an opponent like that in any way! That kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated and he should not have lost his temper."

It seems that Pepe can indeed expect and increased suspension given the content of the referee's report and the club may also take a dim view of the defender's unsavoury actions.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who saved Casquero's penalty, said: "You cannot do what Pepe did while wearing the Real Madrid shirt."

• Meanwhile, Arjen Robben will miss Real Madrid's Primera Liga match against leaders Barcelona at the Bernabeu after suffering a calf strain in the win over Getafe.

The Dutch winger only lasted 18 minutes as a second-half substitute and will be out of action for two to three weeks, the club confirmed. The match against Barcelona is set for the weekend of May 2-3.

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