Disgraceful Dzeko: Roma striker ridiculed for shocking dive after Pepe 'headbutt' (VIDEO)
In a tight, tense clash at the Estadio Dragao in Porto, the two players, who had been battling in close quarters for much of the game, finally went head-to-head - literally - in the middle of the field as Pepe and Dzeko touched foreheads.
Pepe moved his head forward to touch Dzeko while shouting obscenities in the Bosnian's face, but while the players heads touched, it was far from a headbutt.
And the merest contact between the respective players' eyebrows appeared to have a devastating effect on the six-foot-four Bosnian international striker, who theatrically raised his hand to his own face and - almost in slow motion - fall backward to the floor.
It was an embarrassing moment for the Bosnian hitman, who missed a number of good chances for his side and was widely ridiculed on social media after fans shared video footage of his laughable dive.
BT Sport presenter and England football legend Gary Lineker tweeted his mock concern, saying: "How Dzeko survived this Pepe headbutt I'll never know." While a fan posted: "And the Oscar goes to: Edin Dzeko."
How Dzeko survived this Pepe headbutt I’ll never know. 🤣pic.twitter.com/vw0QeRNv8J— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 6, 2019
When Dzeko bangs his knee slightly on a table pic.twitter.com/5dioePTmTm— Carl (@wobblethron) March 6, 2019
Portuguese center-back Pepe has a well-earned reputation as one of European football's most niggly defenders but, on this particular occasion, he was largely blameless for Dzeko's shameful dive to the turf as the Roma striker tried to get the notorious Porto hard-man sent off.
Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir kept a cool head and opted to book both players for the incident, with Pepe's yellow card handing him a one-game suspension in the competition.
But despite the booking, it was Pepe who was celebrating at the end of the tie after an extra-time penalty handed Porto a 3-1 win on the night and 4-3 victory on aggregate, sending them into the quarter-finals as Roma - and Dzeko - were dumped out.