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After the defeat in Braga, Pepe praised the good performance of the Dragons in the first-half and turned the focus to the Portuguese Cup final

The 2019/20 edition of Liga NOS ended with a 2-1 defeat for the national champions, in Braga. Facing a team that was expecting a combination of results to reach the third place in the table, FC Porto went in well, with a good performance in the first-half, but faced two unexpected problems with the Colombian duo that Sérgio Conceição sent in from the start. At the end of the match, Pepe praised the blue and white dominance in the first 45 minutes, but regretted that, after the break, the team came back different: “we weren’t able to retain the same intensity in the second-half and we paid for it”. According to the Portuguese central defender, the result of the match will bring an “analysis of where we failed as a team in the second-half”, as the squad is only thinking of one thing now, the last match of the season: “We are eager to play the Portuguese Cup, to having a good performance and to give that joy to the fans”.

Last of intensity made the team pay
“We were great in the first-half. We completely dominated the first 45 minutes. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to retain the same intensity in the second-half and we paid for it. Braga was playing for the objective of reaching the qualification to Europa League, but I feel we were great in the first-half. Unfortunately, we lost some of our players, but that’s not why we lost. When you lose intensity, you pay for it. The coach warned us about it, to not lose intensity in the second-half, but I’m afraid that’s exactly what happened. Now we have a final to play, and I think that the players were holding back without realising, but that’s football. We have to be professional, do an assessment of how we failed as a team in the second-half. In short, we did well during the season. It was a very atypical season, we reached the objective of becoming champions, and now we are thinking of the Portuguese Cup.”

A joy for the fans in the Cup Final
“We had a great first-half. Braga didn’t have a single goal opportunity during the first-half. In their first goal, Luis Díaz was down, that gave a foul, and then they scored. We have to do an assessment of how we failed as a team in the second-half. But we are eager to play the Portuguese Cup, to having a good performance and to give that joy to the fans.”

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