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Real Madrid's Schuster blames ref for scratchy Copa performance

Real needed a header from Javi Balboa in extra-time to earn the draw, but coach Bernd Schuster's second string struggled to handle their opponents on the night. Gabriel Heinze, Michel Salgado, Guti and Pepe all played 90 minutes.

At the final whistle, despite Real appearing second best, Schuster insisted his team suffered because of the refereeing: "Alicante didn't surprise me, I knew they would go into this game highly motivated.

"I believe we played well. But it's difficult when you play against twelve men. It's impossible. The referee totally influenced this game. Without that penalty (awarded to Alicante), they would not have scored."

Asked if he was disappointed by his players, Schuster argued: "Look, many of them were returning from injury, others hadn't played many minutes until tonight. Everything worked out well. The result was good for us."

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Tribal Football Staff

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