Ramos defends Pepe after kicking incident

Pepe was annoyed with himself and did not mean to kick a player on the ground, Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos said after the defender was sent off during the side's dramatic 3-2 Primera Liga win over Getafe last night.

With the scores level at 2-2 and three minutes to go, the Portugal international pushed Getafe's Francisco Casquero in the back as he surged into the area, and gave away a penalty.

Pepe lashed out and kicked Casquero on the ground and a second swipe saw him rake his studs over the midfielder's back. In the ensuing melee he struck Getafe's Juan Albin in the face.

He was shown a straight red card.

"Pepe was annoyed with himself when he saw it was a penalty and wanted to kick the air, not the player," Ramos said. "I'm sure the disciplinary committee will see that he lost his head and didn't want to kick him."

Pepe apologised to fans for his actions.

"People know this is not my style," he told reporters.

"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."

Higuain was booked for diving in the area and Ramos added the club would appeal the yellow card, which could rule him out of this weekend's match at third-placed Sevilla.

Higuain scored a late winner to move champions Real to within three points of leaders Barcelona, who host Sevilla on Wednesday.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who only lasted 18 minutes as a second-half substitute before leaving the pitch injured, has suffered a calf strain in the left leg, the club said.

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