The top-flight Primeira Liga clash between Belenenses and Benfica in Portugal was marred with COVID-19. The game was recently called off after the former could not field sufficient players for the game following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the squad. The match saw league leaders Benfica face off against Belenenses who are battling for relegation. The latter was only able to field nine players at kick-off, including a goalkeeper playing outfield. Belenenses’s squad got reduced after a player had tested positive for COVID. The players had returned from international duty in South Africa – before another 16 cases were reported in the team before the match.
Belenenses conceded 7 goals against Benfica
Benfica came out on the pitch with a two-man advantage and they thrashed Belenenses with seven goals by half time as the latter could not fight back. Belenenses had returned from the break with only seven players on the field. Not long after the game restarted, Jaoa Monteiro, the goalkeeper playing outfield, sat down and could not continue to play the game.
With less than the minimum number of players needed for the game to continue, the referee called off the match – but the emphatic 7-0 result in favor of Benfica was posted.
South Africa has recorded the highest number of Omicron variant cases – and numerous countries have now placed a travel bans on the country. Despite trying to get the match called off, both teams were made to start the fixture by the league.
Belenenses players took to the social media after the conclusion of the dramatic game and said: “Football only has heart if it is competitive. Football only has heart if it is really sporting. Football only has heart when it is an example of public health. Today, football lost its heart.”
While the Club president Rui Pedro Soares said: “In the middle of the afternoon we communicated to the Liga that we didn’t want to play the game. We had eight players who could attend the game and as such they told us that if we didn’t attend the game it would be unjustified absence. Playing here today was a shame for all of us.”
- Belenenses fielded nine players due to COVID-19 cases
- They suffered 7-0 disappointing loss against Benfica