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December 3, 2021

Barcelona domination over Real Madrid continues

Second-half goals from Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal enabled FC Barcelona to continue their recent hold over Real Madrid CF with a 2-1 Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg victory on Wednesday night, according to uefa.com. FC Barcelona came from behind to win their Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg at Real Madrid CF and extend coach Josep Guardiola’s record to nine victories from 13 “Clasicos”.

Madrid went into the match on a run of 22 victories in their last 23 matches in all competitions – the only blot being the 3-1 Liga reverse against Barcelona in December – and they hit the front through Cristiano Ronaldo after 11 minutes. However, the European champions equalised through Carles Puyol (49) and completed the turnaround 13 minutes from time courtesy of Eric Abidal. After Cristiano Ronaldo’s early strike was wiped out by Carles Puyol’s header and an Eric Abidal winner, Madrid left the pitch to jeers from their frustrated fans, but Mourinho gave little importance to that reaction, and instead took the blame for the loss.

“I always understand [what is going on in the crowd] but I never listen, either before or after [a game],” the Portuguese coach told goal.com. “The responsibility is mine, especially when my team loses. Victory has many fathers; defeat only one. I’ve been in football a long time and I understand this”

Mourinho also revealed Pepe could be punished if he is found to be guilty of stamping on Lionel Messi. Pepe, playing in midfield, had already been booked for a cynical foul on Sergio Busquets early on and could have been dismissed as he clearly stamped on Messi’s hand with just over 20 minutes remaining. But the referee failed to spot the incident and Pepe went unpunished.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola claimed he had not seen the incident, but said the television images spoke for themselves, and straight afterwards, Mourinho told reporters that his player could be punished.

“I have not seen what Pepe did,” he claimed. “I have to watch it. Pepe did a great job for the team but if something happened, I didn’t see it. However, if it was intended, obviously, it is punishable.”

Ronaldo’s performance is already the subject of much debate, with the player’s influence having waned after his early salvo.

However, Mourinho was again quick to defend his compatriot, declaring: “My view is that Cristiano was the best player on our team.”

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