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20th Jun 2018

Pepe hits peak Pepe with reaction to gentlest tap on the shoulder

We wish him a speedy recovery

Darragh Murphy

Medhi Benatia was not only lucky to stay on the pitch but was fortunate to escape without assault charges after his disgusting attack on Pepe on Wednesday afternoon.

Benatia had been booked before half-time but took a massive risk with his decision to touch Pepe on the shoulder in injury time of Portugal’s 1-0 victory over Morocco in their World Cup group clash.

Somehow referee Mark Geiger missed the sickening onslaught that the Moroccan defender put on Pepe as the final seconds ticked away.

Not content with the one devastating shot to Pepe’s right shoulder, Benatia went back with another brutal open-palmed strike which understandably rendered the Portuguese centre-half defenceless.

Fifa regulations, as well as the graphic content of the violent attack, mean that we cannot show you the footage but Pepe will do well to recover in time for their final group game against Iran on Monday.

Pepe is renowned as one of football’s hard men so he would have never gone down unless there was something seriously wrong and it remains entirely likely that Fifa will hit Benatia with a lengthy suspension after reviewing the stomach-churning footage.

This is the World Cup, where the beautiful game is showcased, and there is no place for attacks like this with kids watching from home.