History repeated itself for Carlsberg Man of the Match Pepe as he scored Portugal's opening goal of UEFA EURO 2012 in the 3-2 win over Denmark.
Four years ago Pepe hit the first goal in Portugal's 2-0 defeat of Turkey in their first match and he was at it again in Lviv – heading in João Moutinho's 24th-minute corner – to help his team bounce back from Saturday's defeat by Germany and climb back into contention in Group B.
"I was lucky to be able to score against Turkey in the last EURO and now I've taken a chance to help my team again, which is the most important thing," said the Real Madrid CF player, who hopes to carry his fine form for the Spanish champions into this tournament.
"We ended the season very well at Real Madrid, and I was playing at a high level," he said. "I've been able to contribute to this success, and I hope I can keep doing that for a long time."
Former Dutch international Richard Witschge presented Pepe with his award and revealed the Portugal man had just pipped Denmark's two-goal Nicklas Bendtner to it. "He scored the first goal which was important and I was impressed with how he talks to his defenders and midfielders," said Witschge. "He also made a very good block in the fifth minute from a [Christian] Eriksen shot on goal. Overall I thought he did a bit more than Bendtner in the game."
Pepe preferred to share the credit with his team-mates, however, saying: "I'd like to say thank you for the award, but the most important thing tonight was the effort of the whole team – the 11 players who started and the ones who came on. We played a great game and showed our mettle so we can be a bit calmer now for the next game."
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