Farce As Belenenses Start Game With Nine Men – Including Two Keepers

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Belenenses’ Primeira Liga match against Benfica was called off early in the second half due to a Covid outbreak, which caused them to play with just nine players, two of whom were goalkeepers.

Rather than postponing the match after learning that 14 players and three staff members had tested positive, the Portuguese league sanctioned it because both clubs could still field the needed seven players.

The nine-man team was down 1-0 after an own goal in the opening minute, and they were down 7-0 at halftime. Only seven Belenenses players returned for the second half after a lengthy halftime break. When Joo Monteiro, a goalie playing in midfield, collapsed to the ground and claimed injury, the referee was compelled to call the game off.

The Belenenses players had released a joint statement before kick-off, saying: “Football only has heart if it is competitive. Football only has heart if it is sporting. Football only has heart when it is an example of public health. Today, football has lost its heart.”

The club’s president, Rui Pedro Soares, said that despite the rash of positive tests he had not requested a postponement due to fears over fixture congestion. “The calendar has not been planned well – and the consequences are clear to see.”

source : Guardian sport

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