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Portugal: decimated by the Covid, a football team withdraws after being down 7-0
Ubuesque scene, Saturday night, in the Portuguese football championship. With fourteen players absent due to Covid-19, the Belenenses club were forced to field a squad made up of just nine elements to host one of the Portuguese La Liga greats, Benfica, at their Nacional stadium in Lisbon.
In addition to the many positive players, the coach and several members of the technical staff were also missing. The Lisbon neighborhood club of Belém had to start several young players from the reserve, as well as a goalkeeper repositioned as a field player.
Cashing a goal against its camp from the first minute, the modest Lisbon team suffered numerically outnumbered eleven players from the » Eagles « , who were already leading 7-0 at the break.
Only seven Belenenses players returned to the pitch after the break and one of them remained on the ground after the restart. Noting his injury, the referee was forced to whistle the early end of the match in the 48th minute of play, the laws of football stipulating that no match can continue. « If either team has less than seven players ».
« The League is a shame », sang supporters present in the stadium. » It was a shame to play here tonight ”, Rui Pedro Soares, president of Belenenses, was carried away after paying tribute to the dignity of » players who were forced to play ”.
After communicating to the Football League« That we did not want to play this meeting, we were told that we had eight players able to play » and that the fact of« Not appearing could be considered an unjustified absence », explained the club president. « It’s a black page for Portuguese football ”, said Rui Costa, president of Benfica.