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Gerard Pique calls his handball ‘unintentional’ in El Clasico defeat


La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona battled each other earlier today in El Clasico, and the 3-1 outcome ended in the favor of Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Barca center back Gerard Pique didn’t play down his squad’s inability to compete with Real in the second half, when a rocketed header from Pepe and Karim Benzema’s great finish 11 minutes later finalized the 3-1 score.

Neymar drew first blood with his score in the 4th minute, while Cristiano Ronaldo was able to convert a penalty in the 35th minute. And Luis Suarez, who has just finished serving his four-month ban for biting, delivered a low cross to Lionel Messi only to have the world-class footballer turn his chance wide of the goal.

The Argentine was one goal away from tying the league all-time goal record, and Pique points to that missed opportunity as crucial. He also acknowledged that his hand ball that set up Ronaldo’s penalty-kick conversion was purely accidental. Marcelo sent in a low pass as he raced toward the end line, and the longtime Barca defender slid to the ground before the ball struck him.

“We started the game well and could have gone 2-0 up,” Pique said. “But in the end, I think that Madrid deserve their win based on the second half.

“My hand ball? It was unintentional.”

With every important match, there are very significant, often result-dedicding moments, but given Real’s play in the second half, it wouldn’t be surprising to watch Ronaldo and Co. grab at least a draw in this one, if not the victory, without the PK goal prior to the half. Messi’s notable miss was really what embodied the narrative of Blaugrana’s forlorn day.