LAS VEGAS -- Despite the scorching temperatures at Sam Boyd Stadium, Real Madrid defender Pepe showed the typical intensity that characterizes him during his 45 minutes on the pitch.
Pepe's hard-nosed play managed to get him into the usual trouble he's accustomed to, finishing with a yellow card and getting into scuffles with Santos Laguna strikers Herculez Gomez and Carlos Darwin Quintero.
As has been in the case in their tour of the United States, manager Jose Mourinho has limited every player on the roster with a maximum of 45 minutes per game, a decision Pepe welcomes.
"Like I've said before, the manager is giving everyone minutes and that's a good thing," Pepe said after Real Madrid's 2-1 win. "This game was hard because of the heat, and we've been going through multiple practices before this, so 45 minutes for each player is ideal."
Even with Real Madrid and Santos Laguna taking to the pitch in the late evening, the desert heat still reached 102 ºF, a handicap that did not wear Real Madrid down enough to prevent them from victory.
The heat coupled with the collective fatigue that both teams had endured with games earlier this week, as Real Madrid routed Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday, while Santos drew in its league match with Puebla on Friday.
Santos manager Benjamin Galindo did not follow Mourinho's lead by benching his entire starting lineup after halftime, instead opting for several substitutions at different parts of the second half.
"It's still hot even now. And we're not used to this, but I think that a half for each player has been the right move, now everyone can get into game shape," Pepe finished.
Follow ERIC GOMEZ on