Portugal league match abandoned as COVID outbreak reduces Belenenses to nine players, two keepers

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Referee Manuel Mota finishes the recreation soon after Belenenses could not meet the minimum prerequisite of 7 players on the pitch. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP

Benfica’s Primeira Liga match at Belenenses on Saturday was deserted amid incredible scenes right after their COVID-hit opponents had been forced to identify a staff of 9 gamers, such as two goalkeepers.

Benfica took edge of their numerical superiority to rack up seven goals by half-time prior to Belenenses returned with only 7 gamers for the second period of time.

The match was then identified as off two minutes right after the crack when Joao Monteiro, a goalkeeper actively playing in midfield, sat down on the floor unable to continue on, forcing the referee to abandon the video game which calls for a least of 7 players.

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Pursuing a favourable COVID-19 take a look at in the squad earlier in the week, a whole of 17 cases ended up claimed amid Belenenses players and workers, the club’s president Rui Pedro Soares explained to a information conference on Saturday just before the match.

The Belenenses gamers shared a concept on social media in advance of the video game that mentioned: “Football only has heart if it is aggressive. Soccer only has coronary heart if it is truly sporting. Football only has coronary heart when it is an instance of general public health. Now, football missing its heart.”

Soares told reporters he had unsuccessfully questioned the authorities for the match to be postponed.

“In the center of the afternoon we communicated to the Liga that we did not want to participate in the sport,” he said. “We had eight players who could show up at the activity and as such they advised us that if we did not show up at the activity it would be unjustified absence.

“Actively playing listed here these days was a disgrace for all of us.”

Soares advised Saturday’s information conference that defender Cafu Phete experienced analyzed good for COVID, possessing returned to Portugal on Thursday from intercontinental duty in South Africa.

Soares extra that he was involved the circumstances in the squad could be similar to the new Omicron variant. It was to start with uncovered by researchers in South Africa and the Planet Overall health Organisation (WHO) on Friday classed it as a” variant of worry,” expressing it may unfold a lot more rapidly than other types.

Benfica president Rui Costa explained his facet had no alternative but to enjoy the recreation on Saturday.

“We did not like to enter the pitch underneath these ailments,” he stated. “Benfica was pressured to do it like Belenenses. I regret what transpired today, a dim chapter for Portuguese football and for the state itself.”

Sporting, 3rd in the standings powering leaders Benfica, also unveiled a assertion.

“What created this problem doable will have to should have a deep reflection by all those people who protect the sporting reality and must are worthy of countrywide focus at the highest degree,” it mentioned.

“It is by now getting global focus and marking but yet another dim episode in Portuguese soccer.”